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Bagobo Myths 13 



The following stories were obtained from the Bagobo people, one 
of the groups of pagan Malays in southeastern Mindanao, Philippine 
Islands. Their habitat is on the eastern folds of the Cabadangan 
mountain-range, in the vicinity of Mount Apo, the highest peak, and 
on the foothills thence sloping down to the west coast of the Gulf of 
Davao. They practise a primitive agriculture — raising corn, rice, 
camotes, and several vegetables — in fields and little gardens at the 
edge of the forests. Their garments are of home-grown hemp; and 
their artistic interests centre largely around the decorative designs 
produced in dyeing, weaving, and embroidery. 

In spite of physical barriers interposed by mountain-spurs, frequent 
swift-flowing rivers, and dense undergrowth in the forests, there is 
considerable intercourse between the small villages, each of which 
contains from two to twenty or more houses. The people take long 
journeys on horse and on foot over the trails to assemble at ceremonial 
festivals and for purposes of trade, as well as for social visiting. On 
such occasions, stories and songs are repeated. 

That the component parts of the stories have been drawn from 
numerous and widely separated sources, is apparent, even at a cursory 
glance. Among these sources, the folk-lore material of Sanscrit 
writers seems to have left a distinctive impress upon the Bagobo 
mythical romance. Against a Malay background, and blended with 
native pagan elements, are presented chains of episodes, characteristic 
personalities, methods for securing a magical control of the situation, 
that suggest vividly parallel literary forms in the Sanscrit saga. Still 
more, one is conscious of a prevailing Indian atmosphere, that may 
sometimes elude analysis, yet none the less fails not to make itself 
felt. But as to the line of ethnic contacts which has transfused this 
peculiar literary quality into Malay myth, — whether it is to be traced 
solely to the influence exerted by Hindoo religion and Hindoo literature 
during ages of domination in the Malay archipelago, or whether we 
must reconsider the hypothesis of an Indonesian migration, — this 
is a problem of great complexity, for which no satisfactory solution 
has yet been offered. 

Modern foreign increments that have filtered into the stories from 
the folk-lore of neighboring wild tribes — notably that of the Bilan, the 
Tagacolo, and, to a less extent, the Culaman and Ata — will have to be 
sifted out eventually. In illustration of this point, one tale known to 
be outside of Bagobo sources is here introduced. The story of " Alelu'k 

14 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

and AlSbu'tud" was told by an Ata boy to a Bagobo at the coast, 
who immediately related it to me. It was unquestionably passed on 
in Bagobo circles, and has become a permanent accession. Yet this 
was the sole case that came under my observation of a social visit 
made by an Ata in a Bagobo house; for the Ata live far to the north- 
west of the Bagobo, and are extremely timid, and "wild " in the popular 
sense. Recent ethnic influences from higher peoples, pre-eminently the 
Moro and the Spaniard, will have to be reckoned with. The story 
of "The Monkey and the Turtle" is clearly modified from a Spanish 

The myths here presented include only those of which no texts were 
recorded. A part of the material was given in the vernacular and 
interpreted by a Bagobo; a part was told in English, or in mixed 
English and Bagobo. The stories were taken down in 1907, on Mount 
Merar in the district of Talun, and at Santa Cruz on the coast. 

As regards subject-matter, the stories (ituran 1 ) tend to cluster into 
groups fairly distinguishable in type. Foremost in significance for 
the cultural tradition of the people is the ulit, a long, romantic tale 
relating in highly picturesque language the adventures of the mythical 
Bagobo, who lived somewhere back in the hazy past, before existing 
conditions were established. Semi-divine some of them were, or men 
possessing magical power. The old Mona people; the Malaki, who 
portrayed the Bagobo's ideal of manhood; and the noble lady called 
Bia, — these and other well-marked characters figure in the ulit. 

Another class of stories deals with the demons known as Buso, who 
haunt graveyards, forests, and rocks. These tales have been built 
up by numerous accretions from the folk-lore of many generations. 
The fear of Buso is an ever-present element in the mental associations 
of the Bagobo, and a definite factor in shaping ritual forms and magical 
usages. But the story-teller delights to represent Buso as tricked, 
fooled, brought into embarrassing situations. 

Still another type of myth is associated with cosmogony and natural 
phenomena. It is probable that more extended research would dis- 
close a complete cosmogonic myth to replace the somewhat fragmen- 
tary material here offered. 

The number of explanatory animal tales thus far collected is sur- 
prisingly small. Doubtless there are many more to be gathered. 
Yet, in view of the comparatively scanty mammalian fauna of Minda- 
nao, we might anticipate a somewhat limited range of animal subjects. 

It will be observed that these groups of stories, tentatively thus 

classified for convenience, are not separated by sharp lines. Buso 

figures prominently in the ulit; animals play the part of heroes in 

Buso tales ; while in nature myths the traditional Mona are more or 

1 The general name for a story, of whatever type. 

Bagobo Myths 15 

less closely associated with the shifting of sky and sun. But this is 
merely equivalent to saying that all the tales hang together. 

A word as to the form of the stories and the manner of narration. 
Here we find two distinct styles dependent on the content of the myth. 
The tales of animals, cosmogonic myths, and the folk-lore of Buso, are 
all told in prose, with many inflections of the voice, and often accom- 
panied by an animated play of dramatic gesture. In marked contrast 
is the style of the mythical romance, or ulit, which is recited in a rapid 
monotone, without change of pitch, with no gestures, and with a regard 
to accent and quantity that gives a rhythmic swing suggestive of a 
metrical rendering. 

Although Bagobo songs are often designated as men's songs and 
women's songs, in the case of the stories I have found as yet no monop- 
oly by either sex of any special type. The ulit, however, is often told 
by a young woman just after she leaves the loom, when darkness drops. 
She sits on the floor, or lies on her back with hands clasped behind 
her head, and pours out her story in an unbroken flow to the eager 
young men and girls who gather to listen. Again, I have seen a girl of 
thirteen the sole auditor while a boy but little older than she rolled 
off an ulit that seemed interminable, with never a pause for breath. 
The children did not glance at each other; but the face of each was 
all alight with joy at the tale. 


In the beginning, Diwata 1 made the sea and the land, and planted 
trees of many kinds. Then he took two lumps of earth, 2 and shaped 
them like human figures; then he spit on them, and they became 
man and woman. The old man was called Tuglay,' and the old 
woman, Tuglibung. 3 The two were married, and lived together. 
The Tuglay made a great house, and planted seeds of different kinds 
that Diwata gave him. 

Diwata made the sun, the moon, the stars, and the rivers. First he 
made the great eel (kasili), a fish that is like a snake in the river, and 

1 Among the Bagobo the name "diwata" is used rather as a collective than as a 
specific term, and refers to the gods in general, or to any one of them. Pamulak Manobo, 
creator of the earth, is the diwata here referred to. 

2 In Malayan-Arabic tradition, Adam was moulded from a lump of clay mixed with 
water (cf. W. W. Skeat, Malay Magic [1900], pp. 21-22); but the suggestion may as 
well have come from a Jesuit story. 

3 Tuglay, the "old man" of Bagobo myth, and Tuglibung, the "old woman," were the 
Mona, who lived on the earth before time began. Tradition says that they were acquainted 
with only the rudest of Bagobo arts and industries; that they were very poor, and dressed 
themselves in the soft sheath torn from the cocoanut-trees. Tuglay and Tuglibung are not 
specific, but general, names for all those old people of the tales. 

1 6 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

wound 1 it all around the world. Diwata then made the great crab 
(kayumang), and put it near the great eel, and let it go wherever it 
liked. Now, when the great crab bites the great eel, the eel wriggles, 
and this produces an earthquake. 

When the rain falls, it is Diwata throwing out water from the sky. 
When Diwata spits, the showers fall. The sun makes yellow clouds, 
and the yellow clouds make the colors of the rainbow. But the white 
clouds are smoke from the fire of the gods. 


Long ago the sun hung low over the earth. And the old woman 
called Mona said to the sky, "You go up high, because I cannot 
pound my rice when you are in the way." 

Then the sky moved up higher. 

Mona 2 was the first woman, and Tuglay 3 was the first man. There 
were at that time only one man and one woman on the earth. Their 
eldest son was named Malaki; their eldest daughter, Bia. They lived 
at the centre of the earth. 

Tuglay and Mona made all the things in the world; but the god 
made the woman and the man. Mona was also called Tuglibung. 
Tuglay and Tuglibung got rich, because they could see the god. 

But the snake was there too, and he gave the fruit to the man and 
the woman, saying to them, "If you eat the fruit, it will open your 

Then they both ate the fruit. This made the god angry. 

After this, Tuglibung and Tuglay could not see the god any more. 4 


In the beginning, when the world was made, the sky lay low down 
over the earth. At this time the poor families called " Mona" were 
living in the world. The sky hung so low, that, when they wanted to 
pound their rice, they had to kneel down on the ground to get a play 
for the arm. Then the poor woman called Tuglibung said to the sky, 
"Go up higher! Don't you see that I cannot pound my rice well?" 

So the sky began to move upwards. When it had gone up about 
five fathoms, the woman said again, "Go up still more!" 

This made the sun angry at the woman, and he rushed up very high. 

1 The Malays of the peninsula have a similar tradition as to the snake element (cf. 
Skeat, I. c, p. 6). 

2 The name " Mona " is ordinarily applied to the old man as well as to the old woman of 
prehistoric days. 

3 A generic name for the old man of the ancient myths. The word seems to be related 
to tugul ("old"), which is used only of persons. "An old thing" is tapi. 

4 With ready ease the Bagobo incorporates elements that have come from Catholic 
sources, yet without breaking the thread of his narrative. 

Bagobo Myths 17 

In the old days, when the sun as well as the sky was low down, the 
Mona had a deep hole in the ground, as large as a house, into which 
they would creep to keep themselves from the fierce heat of the sun. 

The Mona were all very old ; but after the sun went up very high, 
they began to get babies. 1 


In the beginning, the sky hung so low over the earth, that the people 
could not stand upright, could not do their work. 

For this reason, the man in the sky said to the sky, "Come up!" 
Then the sky went up to its present place. 


Long ago the Sun had to leaVe the Moon to go to another town. He 
knew that his wife, the Moon, was expecting the birth of a child; and, 
before going away, he said to her, "When your baby is born, if it is a 
boy, keep it; if a girl, kill it." 

A long time passed before the Sun could come back to the Moon, 
and while he was gone, the Moon gave birth to her baby. It was a girl. 
A beautiful child it was, with curly hair like binubbud, 2 with burnished 
nails that looked like gold, and having the white spots called pamoti 3 on 
its body. The mother felt very sad to think of killing it, and so she 
hid it in the big box (kaban*) where they kept their clothes. 

As soon as the Sun returned, he asked the Moon, "How about our 

At once the Moon replied, "It was a girl: I killed it yesterday." 

The Sun had only a week to stay at home with the Moon. One 
night he dreamed that a boy with white hair came to him from heaven. 
The boy stood close to him, and spoke these words: — 

"Your wife got a baby, but it was a girl; and she hid it away from 
you in the box." 

When the Sun wakened from sleep, he was very angry at the Moon, 
and the two fell to quarrelling about the baby. The Moon wanted 
the child saved. 

"You ought to keep it with you," she urged. 

1 A tradition of the first peopling of Mindanao was found by Mr. Cole at Cibolan. Cf . 
The Philippine Journal of Science, vol. vi, pp. 128-129 (1911). 

* Hemp warp that has been laced in a banded pattern before dyeing, in order to 
produce decorative figures in a textile, is called bin&bb&d. After the binding-threads are 
clipped, there is an effect of rippling in the hemp, of which curly hair is suggestive. 

8 Such auspicious white spots are referred to in the text of a Bagobo song (in manu- 
script), in which the Divine Man who lives at the source of the streams is said to have the 
pamoti on his body. 

4 A well-made box of hard wood in which fine garments are kept. 
VOL. XXVI. — NO. 99. — 2 

1 8 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

"No, no!" protested the Sun. "I cannot keep it, because my body 
is so hot it would make your baby sick." 

"And I cannot keep it," complained the Moon, "for my body is 
very dark; and that would surely make the child sick." 

Then the Sun fell into a passion of rage; and he seized his big 
kampilan, 1 and slew the child. He cut its small body into numberless 
little bits, — as many as the grains of sand that lie along the seashore. 
Out of the window he tossed the pieces of the shining little body; and, 
as the gleaming fragments sparkled to their places in the sky, the stars 
came to birth. 


All the old Bagobo men say that the Sun and the Moon once had a 
quarrel about the Moon's baby. 

The Moon had a baby in her belly; and the Sun said, "If our baby 
is a girl, we will kill it, because a girl could not be like me." 

Then the Sun went on a journey to another town, and while he was 
gone, the baby was born; but it was a girl. Now, the Moon felt very 
sorry to think of her little child being killed, and she hid it in a box. 
In a few days, the Sun came home to rest with his wife. Then he 
asked her for the baby. 

The Moon answered, "I killed it yesterday: it was a girl." 

But the Sun did not believe what his wife said. Then he opened the 
box to get his clothes, and there he saw a baby-girl. And the Sun 
was very angry. He seized the baby and cut it into many pieces, 
and threw the pieces out of the window. Then the pieces of the baby's 
body became the stars. 

Before the Sun and the Moon had their quarrel, they journeyed 
together through the sky, and the sky was not far above the earth, 
as now, but it lay low down. 


The Sun wanted the Moon to have a boy-baby so that it would be 
like its father. The Moon too hoped to give birth to a boy. But 
when the child was born, it was a girl. Now, at that time, the Moon 
was very hungry, and wanted to eat her own baby. Then the Sun 
killed the girl-child, and ate it up himself. 


The men who live in that part of the world near to where the sun 
rises are very black. They are called Manobo tagselata k'alo. 2 From 

1 A long, one-edged sword that hangs at the left side, in an elaborate scabbard, when a 
man is in full-dress. 

* Men (<o, "the;" -g-, a formal or euphonic infix; selat, "door;" k' [ka], "of;" alo, 
"sun") at the door of the sun. Manobo is a general term for "man," "people." 

Bagobo Myths 19 

sunrise until noon, they stay in a hole in the ground to escape the 
fierce heat of the sun. Just before sunrise, they put their rice in the 
big pot, with water, and leave it without any fire under the pot. 
Then they creep into their hole in the ground. The rising sun cooks 
the rice; and, when the black men come out of the hole at noon, their 
meal is all ready for them. From noon until sunset, and then all 
night, the black men play and work. But before the sun rises, they 
fix their rice in the pot, leave it for the sun to cook, and go down again 
into the big hole. 


Before time began, very long ago, a great bird called "minokawa" 1 
swallowed the moon. Seized with fear, all the people began to scream 
and make a great noise. Then the bird peeped down to see what was 
the matter, and he opened his mouth. But as soon as he opened his 
mouth, the moon sprang out and ran away. 

The minokawa-bird is as large as the Island of Negros or Bohol. He 
has a beak of steel, and his claws too are of steel. His eyes are mirrors, 
and each single feather is a sharp sword. He lives outside the sky, 
at the eastern horizon, ready to seize the moon when she reaches there 
from her journey under the earth. 

The moon makes eight holes in the eastern horizon to come out of, 
and eight holes in the western horizon to go into, because every day the 
big bird tries to catch her, and she is afraid. The exact moment he 
tries to swallow her is just when she is about to come in through one of 
the holes in the east to shine on us again. If the minokawa should 
swallow the moon, and swallow the sun too, he would then come down 
to earth and gulp down men also. But when the moon is in the belly 
of the big bird, and the sky is dark, then all the Bagobo scream and 
cry, and beat agongs? because they fear they will all "get dead." 
Soon this racket makes the minokawa-bird look down and "open his 
mouth to hear the sound." Then the moon jumps out of the bird's 
mouth and runs away. 

All the old men know about the minokawa-bird in the ulit stories. 

1 The Visayans believe that an eclipse of the moon is caused by an enormous animal 
that seizes the moon, and holds her in his mouth. Cf. this Journal, vol. xix (1906), p. 209. 

8 Large percussion instruments made by the Chinese, imported from Singapore into 
Mindanao, and widely used by the wild tribes. 

20 Journal of American Folk-Lore 



Long ago Lumabat 1 and his sister (tube" 2 ) had a quarrel because 
Lumabat had said, "You shall go with me up into heaven." And his 
sister had replied, "No, I don't like to do that." 

Then they began to fight each other. Soon the woman sat down on 
the big rice mortar, 3 and said to Lumabat, "Now I am going down 
below the earth, down to Gimokudan. 4 Down there I shall begin to 
shake the lemon-tree. Whenever I shake it, somebody up on the 
earth will die. If the fruit shaken down be ripe, then an old person 
will die on the earth ; but if the fruit fall green, the one to die will be 

Then she took a bowl filled with pounded rice, and poured the rice 
into the mortar for a sign that the people should die and go down to 
Gimokudan. Presently the mortar began to turn round and round 
while the woman was sitting upon it. All the while, as the mortar 
was revolving, it was slowly sinking into the earth. But just as it 
began to settle in the ground, the woman dropped handfuls of the 
pounded rice upon the earth, with the words: "See! I let fall this 
rice. This makes many people die, dropping down just like grains of 
rice. Thus hundreds of people go down ; but none go up into heaven." 

Straightway the mortar kept on turning round, and kept on going 
lower down, until it disappeared in the earth, with Lumabat's sister 
still sitting on it. After this, she came to be known as Mebii'yan. 
Before she went down below the earth, she was known only as Tub6' ka 
Lumabat ("sister of Lumabat"). 

Mebu'yan is now chief of a town called Banua Mebii'yan ("Me- 
bu'yan's town ") , where she takes care of all dead babies, and gives them 
milk from her breasts. Mebu'yan is ugly to look at, for her whole body 
is covered with nipples. All nursing children who still want the milk, 
go directly, when they die, to Banua Mebu'yan, instead of to Gimoku- 
dan, and remain there with Mebu'yan until they stop taking milk from 
her breast. Then they go to their own families in Gimokudan, where 
they can get rice, and "live" very well. 

1 The first of mortals to reach heaven, and become a god (cf . the ' 'Story of Lumabat and 
Wari"). In the tales that I have thus far collected, Lumabat does not figure as a culture- 

* The word indicating the relationship between brother and sister, each of whom is 
tube to the other, whether elder or younger. 

» The mortar in which rice is pounded is a large, deep wooden bowl that stands in the 
house. With its standard, it is three feet or more in height. 

* The place below the earth where the dead go (gimokud, "spirit;" -an, plural ending); 
that is, [the place of] many spirits. 

Bagobo Myths 21 

All the spirits stop at Mebu'yan's town, on their way to Gimokudan. 
There the spirits wash all their joints in the black river that runs 
through Banua Mebu'yan, and they wash the tops of their heads too. 
This bathing (pamalugu 1 ) is for the purpose of making the spirits feel 
at home, so that they will not run away and go back to their own 
bodies. If the spirit could return to its body, the body would get up 
and be alive again. 


Tuglay and Tuglibung 2 had many children. One of them was called 
Lumabat. There came a time when Lumabat quarrelled with his 
sister and was very angry with her. He said, " I will go to the sky, 
and never come back again." 

So Lumabat started for the sky-country, and many of his brothers 
and sisters went with him. A part of their journey lay over the sea, 
and when they had passed the sea, a rock spoke to them and said, 
"Where are you going?" 

In the beginning, all the rocks and plants and the animals could talk* 
with the people. 

Then one boy answered the rock, "We are going to the sky-country." 

As soon as he had spoken, the boy turned into a rock. But his 
brothers and sisters went on, leaving the rock behind. 

Presently a tree said, "Where are you going?" 

"We are going to the sky," replied one of the girls. 

Immediately the girl became a tree. Thus, all the way along the 
journey, if any one answered, he became a tree, or stone, or rock, 
according to the nature of the object that put the question. 

By and by the remainder of the party reached the border of the sky. 
They had gone to the very end of the earth, as far as the horizon. But 
here they had to stop, because the horizon kept moving up and down 
(supa-supa). The sky and the earth would part, and then close 
together again, just like the jaws of an animal in eating. This move- 
ment of the horizon began as soon as the people reached there. 

There were many young men and women, and they all tried to jump 
through the place where the sky and the earth parted. But the edges 
of the horizon are very sharp, like a kampilan* and they came together 
with a snap whenever anybody tried to jump through ; and they cut 
him into two pieces. Then the parts of his body became stones, or 

1 The same word is used of the ceremonial washing at the festival of G'inum. Ordinary- 
bathing is padigus. 

2 See footnote 3, p. 15, also 3, p. 16. 

3 This is also an element in Visayan myth (cf . Maxfield and Millington's collection in this 
Journal, vol. xx[ioo7], p. 102). For the Malay tradition, cf. Skeat, Malay Magic, p. 205. 

4 See footnote 1, p. 18. 

22 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

grains of sand. One after another of the party tried to jump through, 
for nobody knew the fate of the one who went before him. 

Last of all, Lumabat jumped — quick, quicker than the rest; and 
before the sharp edges snapped shut, he was safe in heaven. As he 
walked along, he saw many wonderful things. He saw many kam- 
pilans standing alone, and fighting, and that without any man to hold 
them. Lumabat passed on by them all. Then he came to the town 
where the bad dead live. The town is called "Kilut." 1 There, in the 
flames, he saw many spirits with heavy sins on them. The spirits with 
little sins were not in the flames; but they lay, their bodies covered 
with sores, in an acid that cuts like the juice of a lemon. Lumabat 
went on, past them all. 

Finally he reached the house of Diwata, 2 and went up into the house. 
There he saw many diwata, and they were chewing betel-nut. 3 And 
one diwata spit from his mouth the isse 4 that he had finished chewing. 
When Lumabat saw the isse coming from the mouth of the god, it 
looked to him like a sharp knife. Then Diwata laid hold of Luma- 
bat, and Lumabat thought the god held a sharp knife in his hand. 
But it was no knife: it was just the isse. And Diwata rubbed the 
isse on Lumabat's belly, and with one downward stroke he opened the 
belly, and took out Lumabat's intestines (betuka). 

Then Lumabat himself became a god. He was not hungry any 
more, for now his intestines were gone. Yet if he wanted to eat, he 
had only to say, "Food, come now!" and at once all the fish were there, 
ready to be caught. In the sky-country, fish do not have to be caught. 
And Lumabat became the greatest of all the diwata. 

Now, when Lumabat left home with his brothers and sisters, one 
sister and three brothers remained behind. The brother named Wari 
felt sad because Lumabat had gone away. At last he decided to 
follow him. He crossed the sea, and reached the border of the sky, 
which immediately began to make the opening and shutting motions. 
But Wari was agile, like his brother Lumabat; and he jumped quick, 
just like Lumabat, and got safe into heaven. Following the same 
path that his brother had taken, he reached the same house. And 
again Diwata took the isse, and attempted to open Wari's belly; but 
Wari protested, for he did not like to have his intestines pulled out. 
Therefore the god was angry at Wari. 

1 A synonyme for Gimokudan ("the city of the dead "). It is not ordinarily associated 
in the mind of the Bagobo with any idea of retribution. This episode shows traces of 
Jesuit influence. 

2 See footnote I, p. 15. 

3 The popular name "betel-nut," has been retained in these stories to designate the 
fruit of the areca-palm. Strictly speaking, " betel " is the leaf of a climbing plant (buyo) 
that is chewed with the nut. 

4 The solid part of the betel-nut that remains after the juice has been extracted by long 

Bagobo Myths 23 

Yet Wari staid on in the house for three days. Then he went out 
on the atad 1 that joined the front and back part of the gods' house, 
whence he could look down on the earth. He saw his home town, and 
it made him happy to look at his fields of sugarcane and bananas, his 
groves of betel and cocoanuts. There were his bananas ripe, and all 
his fruits ready to be plucked. Wari gazed, and then he wanted to 
get back to earth again, and he began to cry; for he did not like to stay 
in heaven and have his intestines taken out, and he was homesick 
for his own town. 

Now, the god was angry at Wari because he would not let him open 
his belly. And the god told Wari to go home, and take his dogs with 
him. First the god fixed some food for Wari to eat on his journey. 
Then he took meadow-grass (karan), and tied the long blades together, 
making a line long enough to reach down to earth. He tied Wari and 
the dogs to one end of the line; but before he lowered the rope, he said 
to Wari, "Do not eat while you are up in the air, for if you eat, it will 
set your dogs to quarrelling. If I hear the sound of dogs fighting, 
I shall let go the rope." 

But while Wari hung in the air, he got very hungry, and, although 
he had been let down only about a third of the distance from heaven 
to earth, he took some of his food and ate it. Immediately the dogs 
began to fight. Then Diwata in the sky heard the noise, and he 
dropped the rope of meadow-grass. Then Wari fell down, down; but 
he did not strike the ground, for he was caught in the branches of the 
tree called lanipo. It was a tall tree, and Wari could not get down. 
He began to utter cries; and all night he kept crying, "Aro-o-o-o-i!" 
Then he turned into a kulago-bird. 2 At night, when you hear the call 
of the kulago-bird, you know that it is the voice of Wari. 

The kulago-bird has various sorts of feathers, feathers of all kinds 
of birds and chickens; it has the hair of all animals and the hair of 
man. This bird lives in very high trees at night, and you cannot see 
it. You cannot catch it. Yet the old men know a story about a 
kulago-bird once having been caught while it was building its nest. 
But this was after there came to be many people on the earth. 

The three dogs went right along back to Wari's house. They 
found Wari's sister and two brothers at home, and staid there with 
them. After a while, the woman and her two brothers had many 

"In the beginning," say the old men, "brother and sister would 
marry each other, just like pigs. This was a very bad custom." 

1 A sort of bridge or platform connecting the main body of the native house with the 
shelter that serves as kitchen, when this is separate from the living-room. 

5 A fabulous bird, probably associated with the screech-owl (Aluco Candidas) of the 
Philippines. It is a bird of ill-omen. Compare A. Newton, Dictionary of Birds, pp. 
670-680 (1893-96). 

24 Journal of American Folk-Lore 


Before the world was made, the monkey looked like man, and was 
called manobo, 1 and was actually human. But after the world and 
people were made, the monkey took its present form. 

When people began to live in the world, they had many children. 
One man was called Lumabat. His father had a number of children, 
so that Lumabat had many brothers and sisters. 

One day a brother of Lumabat was climbing up over the roof, and 
in his hand he had a long ladle made of cocoanut-shell. He held the 
ladle behind his back, at the base of his spine, until by and by a tail 
began to grow. The ladle had turned into a tail, and presently Luma- 
bat's brother became a monkey. After that, a few other people turned 
into monkeys. But all this came about before Lumabat went to 


Before time began, 2 an old woman (Tuglibung) and an old man 
(Tuglay) lived in a town at the centre of the world. There came a 
season of drought, when their bananas spoiled, and all their plants 
died from the hot sun. Tuglibung and Tuglay were very hungry, and 
looked skinny, because they had nothing to eat. 

One night as the old man slept, he dreamed that a little boy with 
white hair came close to him, and said, "Much better it would be, if 
you would stay here no longer; much better, that you go to the T'oluk 
Waig 3 ('water-sources'), where there is a good place to live." 

So the old folks started on their journey to the source of the rivers. 
On their way, they stopped at one place that seemed good, and staid 
for about a month ; but there was little to eat, and they were always 
hungry. At last, one day, the man climbed up into a tall tree, whence 
he could see the whole earth, even to the border of the sky. Far away 
he could see a little smoke, just like a cigarette. Then he climbed 
down the tree in a hurry, and told his wife what he had seen. 

"I will go and find out where that smoke comes from," he said, 
"and see if I can get some bananas and things, — all we can eat." 

So the man started out and travelled a long way, leaving his wife 
at home. As he approached the place where he had seen the smoke, 
he found himself in a vast field full of fruit-trees and sugarcane-plants. 
The sugarcane grew as big as trees; the bananas were as huge as the 
trunks of cocoanut-palms ; and the papaya-fruit was the size of a 
great clay jar. He walked on until he reached a very large meadow, 
full of long wavy grass, where there were many horses and carabao and 
other animals. Soon after he left the meadow-grass, he could make 

1 General term for "man," "people." 

a The ulit has a stereotyped opening with the phrase unda'me (unda ume), "no year." 

' The fabulous source of all the mountain-streams. 

Bagobo Myths 25 

out, some distance ahead of him, a big house with many smaller 
houses grouped around it. He was so scared that he could not see 
the houses very well. He kept his eyes on the ground at his feet. 

When he came up to the big house, he saw lying under it piles of 
human bones. He then knew that the Datu of the Buso 1 lived there. 
In all the other houses there were buso living too. But he went bravely 
up the steps of the big house, and sat down on the floor. Right away, 
while he sat there, the children of Buso wanted to eat him. But 
Tuglay said, "No, no! don't eat me, because I just came to get bananas 
of many different kinds." 

Then the man made a bargain with the Datu of the Buso, and said, 
"Give me some bananas, and I will pay you two children for them. 
Come to my house in nine days, and you shall have one boy and one 
girl for the bananas." But Tuglay had no children. 

Then the Buso gave Tuglay a basket of bananas, and let him go 

Now, while her husband was away, the woman gave birth to twins, 
— a boy and a girl. And when the man got home he was pleased, and 
said, "Oh! that's fine! You got some babies while I was away." 

But the man felt very sorry to think of giving his children to the 
Buso, and he went from place to place, hoping to find some friend who 
would help him. All the time, the days of the J "alia ("time of con- 
tract") were slipping by. He could get nobody to help him. Now it 
lacked only two of the nine days' falla. And while the children were 
asleep, Tuglay said to his wife, " Let us run away, and leave our babies 
here asleep, because to-morrow the Buso will come." 

Then Tuglay and Tuglibung ran away, and left their children. They 
ran and ran until they reached the T'oluk Waig; but they could not 
get away from the falla. The nine days of falla had caught up with 

At home, the children woke up and found no mother and father 
there, and they began to cry. They thought they would run after 
their parents. So they left the house, and forded the river, and began 
to run. 

When the nine days were up, the Buso came to Tuglay's house for 
his pay. When he found nobody at home, he ran after the children, 
carrying with him many iron axes and big bolos, and accompanied by a 
crowd of other buso. In all there were three thousand buso, — two 
thousand walking, and one thousand flying. The children had the 
start; but the three thousand buso kept gaining on them, until they 
were close behind. 

1 The anthropomorphic and zoomorphic evil personalities, whose number is legion. 
The traditional concept of Buso among the Bagobo has essentially the same content as 
that of Asuang with Visayan peoples. Both Buso and Asuang suggest the Rakshasa of 
Indian myth. 

26 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

As they ran, the little boy said to his sister, "When we get to that 
field over there, where there are ripe bananas, you must not speak a 

But when they reached the banana-tree, the girl-child cried out, 
"Brother, I want to eat a banana." 

Then she ate a banana; but she felt so weak she could run no 
longer. She just lay down and died. Then the boy-child looked about 
for a place to put his sister's body. He looked at the fine branched 
trees, full of fruit, and saw that each single fruit was an agong, 1 and 
the leaves, mother-of-pearl. 

To one of the trees, the boy said, "May I put my sister here?" 
And the tree said that he might do it. 

Then the boy laid his sister on a branch of the tree, because the child 
was dead. 

After this, the boy ran back toward the Buso who led the rest, and 
called out to him, "I'm going to run very fast. Chase me now, and 
catch me if you can!" 

So the boy ran, and the Buso chased him. Hard pressed, the boy 
sprang toward a big rock, and shouted to it, "O rock, help me! The 
Buso will catch me." 

"Come up!" said the rock, "I'll help you, if I can." 

But when the boy climbed up, he found that it was not a rock, but 
a fine house, that was giving him shelter. In that house lived the 
Black Lady (Bia t' metum 2 ), and she received the boy kindly. 

As soon as the Buso came up to the rock, he smiled, and said, "The 
boy is here all right! I'll break the rock with my axe." 

But when he tried to break the rock with axe and poko, 3 the hard 
stone resisted; and the Buso's tools were blunted and spoiled. 

Meantime, in the Black Lady's house the boy was getting ready for 
a fight, because the Black Lady said, "Go down now; they want you 
down there." 

Then with sharp sword and long spear, bearing a fine war-shield, 
and wearing ear-plugs of shining ivory, the boy went down to meet 
the Buso. When he went down the steps, all the other buso had come, 
and were waiting for him in front of the house. Then they all went 
to fighting the one boy, and he met them all alone. He fought until 
every one of the three thousand buso fell down dead. At last, one only 
of the buso stood up, and he was the great Datu of Buso. But even 
he fell down before that mighty boy, for none could conquer the boy. 
He was matulus.* After all was done, the boy married the Black 
Lady, and lived well in her house. 

1 See footnote 2, p. 19. 2 Bia, "lady;" t' (to), "the;" metum, "black." 

8 A stout work-knife, with broad, one-edged blade, and square tip; used to hew down 

trees, and cut kindling-wood. 

4 A term regularly used of the great Malaki, and combining the sense of "all-wise" 

and "invincible." Matulus is often used with a connotation of having magical power. 

Bagobo Myths 27 


It was eight 2 million (kati) years ago, in the days of the Mona,* 
that the following events took place. 

The Tuglay lived in a fine house the walls of which were all mirrored 
glass, and the roof was hung with brass chains. One day he went 
out into the woods to snare jungle-fowl, and he slept in the woods all 
night. The next day, when he turned to go home, he found himself 
puzzled as to which trail to take. He tried one path after another, 
but none seemed to lead to his house. At last he said to himself, 
"I have lost my way: I shall never be able to get home." 

Then he walked on at random until he came to a vast field of rice, 
where great numbers of men were cutting the palay. 4 But the rice- 
field belonged to Buso, and the harvesters were all buso-men. When 
they saw Tuglay at the edge of their field, they were glad, and said 
to one another, "There's a man! We will carry him home." 

Then the buso caught Tuglay, and hastened home with him. Now, 
the great Buso's mansion stretched across the tops of eight million 
mountains, and very many smaller houses were on the sides of the 
mountains, all around the great Buso's house; for this was the city 
of the buso where they had taken Tuglay. As he was carried through 
the groves of cocoanut-palms on Buso's place, all the Cocoanuts called 
out, "Tuglay, Tuglay, in a little while the Buso will eat you!" 

Into the presence of the great chief of all the buso, they dragged 
Tuglay. The Datto Buso was fearful to look at. From his head grew 
one great horn of pure ivory, and flames of fire were blazing from the 
horn. The Datto Buso questioned the man. 

"First of all, I will ask you where you come from, Tuglay." 

"I am come from my house in T'oluk Waig," replied the man. 

And the great Buso shouted, " I will cut off your head with my sharp 

"But if I choose, I can kill you with your own sword," boldly 
answered Tuglay. 

Then he lay down, and let the Buso try to cut his neck. The Buso 
swung his sharp sword ; but the steel would not cut Tuglay's neck. 
The Buso did not know that no knife could wound the neck of Tuglay, 
unless fire were laid upon his throat at the same time. This was eight 
million years ago that the Buso tried to cut off the head of Tuglay. 

Then another day the Tuglay spoke to all the buso, "It is now my 
turn: let me try whether I can cut your necks." 

1 See footnote 3, p. 15. also 3, p. 16. 

2 The number sacred in ceremonial and song. 
* See footnote 2, p. 16. 

4 Visayan word for rice growing in the field ; Bagobo, 'ume. 

5 The long sword of the Moro, with a wavy, two-edged blade. 

28 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

After this speech, Tuglay stood up and took from his mouth the 
chewed betel-nut that is called isse, and made a motion as if he would 
rub the isse on the great Buso's throat. When the Buso saw the isse, 
he thought it was a sharp knife, and he was frightened. All the lesser 
buso began to weep, fearing that their chief would be killed ; for the 
isse appeared to all of them as a keen-bladed knife. The tears of all 
the buso ran down like blood ; they wept streams and streams of tears 
that all flowed together, forming a deep lake, red in color. 

Then Tuglay rubbed the chewed betel on the great Buso's throat. 
One pass only he made with the isse, and the Buso's head was severed 
from his body. Both head and body of the mighty Buso rolled down 
into the great lake of tears, and were devoured by the crocodiles. 

Now, the Tuglay was dressed like a poor man, — in bark (bunut 1 ) 
garments. But as soon as he had slain the Buso, he struck a blow at 
his own legs, and the bark trousers fell off. Then he stamped on the 
ground, and struck his body, and immediately his jacket and kerchief 
of bark fell off from him. There he stood, no longer the poor Tuglay, 
but a Malaki T'oluk Waig, 2 with a gleaming kampilan in his hand. 

Then he was ready to fight all the other buso. First he held the 
kampilan in his left hand, and eight million buso fell down dead. 
Then he held the kampilan in his right hand, and eight million more 
buso fell down dead. After that, the Malaki went over to the house 
of Buso's daughter, who had but one eye, and that in the middle of her 
forehead. She shrieked with fear when she saw the Malaki coming; 
and he struck her with his kampilan, so that she too, the woman-buso, 
fell down dead. 

After these exploits, the Malaki T'oluk Waig went on his way. He 
climbed over the mountains of benati, 3 whose trees men go far to seek, 
and then he reached the mountains of barayung and balati wood. 
From these peaks, exultant over his foes, he gave a good war-cry 
that re-echoed through the mountains, and went up to the ears of 
the gods. Panguli'li and Salamia'wan 4 heard it from their home in 
the Shrine of the Sky (Tambara ka Langit), and they said, "Who 
chants the song of war (ig-sungal) ? Without doubt, it is the Malak 
T'oluk Waig, for none of all the other malaki could shout just like 

1 The Babogo say, that, before the invention of weaving hemp, all the people clothed 
themselves in the soft, inflammable layers of the sheath that envelops the trunk of cocoa- 

2 The semi-divine being who dwells at the mythical source of the mountain-streams 
(malaki, "good man;" f [to], "the;" oluk, "source;" waig, "water"). Traditionally 
there are many of these malaki, devotionally there is but one. 

3 A very hard, fine-grained wood susceptible of high polish, in color grading, according 
to age, from yellow to golden tan, and used to make handles for the most valuable swords. 

4 These gods are of high rank. Salamia'wan occupies the second heaven, and Pan- 
guli'li, the ninth. 

Bagobo Myths 29 

His duty performed, the Malaki left the ranges of balati and bara- 
yung, walked down toward the sea, and wandered along the coast 
until he neared a great gathering of people who had met for barter. 
It was market-day, and all sorts of things were brought for trade. 
Then the Malaki T'oluk Waig struck his legs and his chest, before the 
people caught sight of him ; and immediately he was clothed in his old 
bark trousers and jacket and kerchief, just like a poor man. Then he 
approached the crowd, and saw the people sitting on the ground in 
little groups, talking, and offering their things for sale. 

The Malaki Lindig Ramut ka Langit 1 and all the other malaki 2 from 
the surrounding country were there. They called out to him, "Where 
are you going?" 

The Tuglay told them that he had got lost, and had been travelling 
a long distance. As he spoke, he noticed, sitting among a group of 
young men, the beautiful woman called Moglung. 

She motioned to him, and said, "Come, sit down beside me." 

And the Tuglay sat down on the ground, near the Moglung. Then 
the woman gave presents of textiles to the Malaki Lindig Ramut ka 
Langit and the other malaki in her crowd. But to the Tuglay she 
gave betel-nut that she had prepared for him. 

After that, the Moglung said to all the malaki, "This time I am 
going to leave you, because I want to go home." 

And off went the Moglung with the Tuglay, riding on the wind. 

After many days, the Moglung and the Tuglay rested on the moun- 
tains of barayung, and, later, on the mountains of balakuna-trees. 
From these heights, they looked out over a vast stretch of open coun- 
try, where the deep, wavy meadow-grass glistened like gold; and 
pastured there were herds of cows and carabao and many horses. 
And beyond rose another range of mountains, on the highest of which 
stood the Moglung's house. To reach it they had to cross whole 
forests of cocoanut and betel-nut trees that covered eight million 
mountains. Around the house were all kinds of useful plants and 
trees. When they walked under the floor 3 of the house, the Moglung 
said, "My grandmother is looking at me because I have found another 
grandchild for her." 

Then the grandmother (Tuglibung) called to them, saying, "Come 
up, come up, my grandchildren!" 

1 Malaki who lives at the horizon (lindig, "border;" ramut, "root;" ka, preposition 
"of;" langit, "sky"), 

s Although the name malaki properly is limited to men of high moral character, 
yet actually the story-teller calls all the young men malaki round whom the action centres. 
Often it means simply an unmarried man. 

8 A typical Malay house presents the appearance of a pile-dwelling, the floor being 
raised several feet above the ground, and tied to the heavy upright timbers which run to 
the roof and form the framework of the house. 

30 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

As soon as they entered the house, the Tuglay sat down in a corner 
of the kitchen, until the grandmother offered him a better place, say- 
ing, "Do not stay in the kitchen. Come and sleep on my bed." 

The Tuglay rested eight nights in the grandmother's bed. At the 
end of the eight nights the Moglung said to him, "Please take this 
betel-nut that I have prepared for you." 

At first Tuglay did not want to take it; but the next day, when the 
Moglung again offered the betel, he accepted it from her and began 
to chew. After that, the Tuglay took off his trousers of bark and his 
jacket of bark, and became a Malaki T'oluk Waig. But the Moglung 
wondered where the Tuglay had gone, and she cried to her grand- 
mother, "Where is the Tuglay?" 

But the Malaki stood there, and answered her, "I am the Tuglay." 

At first the Moglung was grieved, because the Malaki seemed such 
a grand man, and she wanted Tuglay back. 

But before long the Malaki said to her, "I want you to marry me." 

So they were married. Then the Moglung opened her gold box, 
and took out a fine pair of trousers (saroa'r 1 ) and a man's jacket 
(umpak 2 ka mama), and gave them to the Malaki as a wedding-gift. 

When they had been living together for a while, there came a day 
when the Malaki wanted to go and visit a man who was a great worker 
in brass, — the Malaki Tuangun; 3 and the Moglung gave him 
directions for the journey, saying, "You will come to a place where 
a hundred roads meet. Take the road that is marked with the prints 
of many horses and carabao. Do not stop at the place of the cross- 
roads, for if you stop, the Bia 4 who makes men giddy will hurt you." 

Then the Malaki went away, and reached the place where a hundred 
roads crossed, as Moglung had said. But he stopped there to rest 
and chew betel-nut. Soon he began to feel queer and dizzy, and he 
fell asleep, not knowing anything. When he woke up, he wandered 
along up the mountain until he reached a house at the border of a 
big meadow, and thought he would stop and ask his way. From under 
the house he called up, "Which is the road to the Malaki Tuangun?" 

It was the Bia's voice that answered, "First come up here, and 
then I'll tell you the road." 

So the Malaki jumped up on the steps and went in. But when he 
was inside of her house, the Bia confessed that she did not know the 
way to the Malaki Tuangun's house. 

"I am the woman," she said, "who made you dizzy, because I 
wanted to have you for my own." 

1 Short trousers of hemp, usually embroidered and beaded. 

1 Short jacket of hemp (ka, "of;" mama, "man," " boy ," the specific term for "man"). 

» Brass-smith. 

* A title of respect, which is best rendered by "lady" or "sefiora." 

Bagobo Myths 31 

"Oh ! that's the game," said the Malaki. "But the Moglung is my 
wife, and she is the best woman in the world." 

"Never mind that," smiled the Bia. "Just let me comb your hair." 

Then the Bia gave him some betel-nut, and combed his hair until he 
grew sleepy. But as he was dropping off, he remembered a certain 
promise he had made his wife, and he said to the Bia, " If the Moglung 
comes and finds me here, you be sure to waken me." 

After eight days had passed from the time her husband left home, 
the Moglung started out to find him, for he had said, "Eight days from 
now I will return." 

By and by the Moglung came to the Bia's house, and found the 
Malaki there fast asleep ; but the Bia did not waken him. Then the 
Moglung took from the Malaki's toes his toe-rings (paniod 1 ), and went 
away, leaving a message with the Bia : — 

"Tell the Malaki that I am going back home to find some other, 
malaki: tell him that I'll have no more to do with him." 

But the Moglung did not go to her own home : she at once started 
for her brother's house that was up in the sky-country. 

Presently the Malaki woke up, and when he looked at his toes, he 
found that his brass toe-rings were gone. 

"The Moglung has been here!" he cried in a frenzy. "Why didn't 
you waken me, as I told you?" Then he seized his sharp-bladed 
kampilan, and slew the Bia. Maddened by grief and rage, he dashed 
to the door and made one leap to the ground, screaming, "All the 
people in the world shall fall by my sword!" 

On his war-shield he rode, and flew with the wind until he came 
to the horizon. Here lived the Malaki Lindig Ramut ka Langit. 2 
And when the two malaki met, they began to fight; and the seven 
brothers of the Malaki Lindig that live at the edge of the sky, like- 
wise came out to fight. But when the battle had gone on but a little 
time, all the eight malaki of the horizon fell down dead. Then the 
angry Malaki who had slain the Bia and the eight young men went 
looking for more people to kill ; and when he had shed the blood of 
many, he became a huso with only one eye in his forehead, for the 
huso with one eye are the worst buso of all. Everybody that he met 
he slew. 

After some time, he reached the house of the great priest called 
" Pandita," and the Pandita checked him, saying, "Stop a minute, and 
let me ask you first what has happened to make you like this." 

Then the Buso-man replied sadly, "I used to have a wife named 
Moglung, who was the best of all the bia; but when I went looking 
for the Malaki Tuangun, that other Bia made me dizzy, and gave 

1 Brass toe-rings, corresponding to the paninsing ("finger-rings"). 
* See footnote I, p. 29. 

32 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

me betel, and combed my hair. Then she was my wife for a little 
while. But I have killed her, and become a buso, and I want to kill 
all the people in the world." 

"You had better lie down on my mat here, and go to sleep," advised 
the Pandita. While the Buso slept, the Pandita rubbed his joints with 
betel-nut; and when he woke up, he was a malaki again. 

Then the Pandita talked to him, and said, "Only a few days ago, 
the Moglung passed here on her way to her brother's home in heaven. 
She went by a bad road, for she would have to mount the steep rock- 
terraces. If you follow, you will come first to the Terraces of the Wind 
(Tarasu'ban ka Kara'mag 1 ), then you reach the Terraces of Eight- 
fold Darkness (Walu Lapit Dukilum 2 ), and then the Terraces of the 
Rain (Tarasuban k'Udan 3 ). 

Eagerly the Malaki set out on his journey, with his kabir * on his 
back, and his betel-nut and buyo-leaf 6 in the kabir. He had not 
travelled far, before he came to a steep ascent of rock-terraces, — 
the Terraces of the Wind, that had eight million steps. The Malaki 
knew not how to climb up the rocky structure that rose sheer before 
him, and so he sat down at the foot of the ascent, and took his kabir 
off his back to get out some betel-nut. After he had begun to chew 
his betel, he began to think, and he pondered for eight days how he 
could accomplish his hard journey. On the ninth day he began to 
jump up the steps of the terraces, one by one. On each step he chewed 
betel, and then jumped again; and at the close of the ninth day he 
had reached the top of the eight million steps, and was off, riding on 
his shield. 

Next he reached the sharp-edged rocks called the "Terraces of 
Needles" (Tarasuban ka Simat), that had also eight million steps. 
Again he considered for eight days how he could mount them. Then 
on the ninth day he sprang from terrace to terrace, as before, chewing 
betel-nut on each terrace, and left the Tarasuban ka Simat, riding on 
his shield. Then he arrived at the Terraces of Sheet-Lightning 
(Tarasuban ka'Dilam-dilam) ; and he took his kabir off his back, and 
prepared a betel-nut, chewed it, and meditated for eight days. On the 
ninth day he jumped from step to step of the eight million terraces, and 
went riding off on his war-shield. When he reached the Terraces 
of Forked-Lightning (Tarasuban ka Kirum), he surmounted them on 
the ninth day, like the others. 

1 Rock-terrace (-an, plural ending; ka, "of;" karamag, "wind") of the Wind. 

2 Terraces (walu, "eight;" lapit, "folded;" dukilum, "night," "darkness") of Eight- 
fold Darkness. 

3 Udan ("rain"). 

4 A large carrying-bag worn by Bagobo men on the back, by means of strap3 over the 
shoulders. It is woven of hemp, often heavily beaded, and contains the betel-box, the 
lime-tube, and a tight case of woven rattan for flint, steel, medicine, and other necessaries- 

5 The leaf of a vine that is chewed with betel-nut. 

Bagobo Myths 33 

But now he came to a series of cuestas named " Dulama Bolo Kam- 
pilan," 1 because one side of each was an abrupt cliff with the sharp 
edge of a kampilan; and the other side sloped gradually downward, 
like a blunt-working bolo. How to cross these rocks, of which 
there were eight million, the Malaki did not know; so he stopped 
and took off his kabir, cut up his betel-nut, and thought for eight 
days. Then on the ninth day he began to leap over the rocks, 
and he kept on leaping for eight days, each day jumping over one 
million of the cuestas. On the sixteenth day he was off, riding on 
his shield. Then he reached the Terraces of the Thunder (Tara- 
suban ka Kilat), which he mounted, springing from one terrace to 
the next, as before, after he had meditated for eight days. Leaving 
these behind him on the ninth day, he travelled on to the Mountains 
of Bamboo (Pabungan Kawayanan), covered with bamboo whose 
leaves were all sharp steel. These mountains he could cross without 
the eight days' thought, because their sides sloped gently. From the 
uplands he could see a broad sweep of meadow beyond, where the 
grass glistened like gold. And when he had descended, and walked 
across the meadow, he had to pass through eight million groves of 
cocoanut-trees, where the fruit grew at the height of a man's waist, and 
every cocoanut had the shape of a bell (korung-korung). Then he 
reached a forest of betel-nut, where again the nuts could be plucked 
without the trouble of climbing, for the clusters grew at the height of 
a man's waist. Beyond, came the meadows with white grass, and 
plants whose leaves were all of the rare old embroidered cloth called 
tambayang? He then found himself at the foot-hills of a range of 
eight million mountains, rising from the heart of the meadows, and, 
when he had climbed to their summit, he stood before a fine big house. 

From the ground he called out, "If anybody lives in this house, let 
him come look at me, for I want to find the way to the Shrine in the 
Sky, or to the Little Heaven, where my Moglung lives." 

But nobody answered. 

Then the Malaki sprang up the bamboo ladder and looked in at the 
door, but he saw no one in the house. He was weary, after his journey, 
and sat down to rest in a chair made of gold that stood there. Soon 
there came to his ears the sound of men's voices, calling out, "There 
is the Malaki T'oluk Waig in the house." 

The Malaki looked around the room, but there was no man there, 
only a little baby swinging in its cradle. Outside the house were many 
malaki from the great town of Lunsud, and they came rushing in the 

1 Dulama ("soft rock"). This rock formation appears to be a cuesta structure. 

1 An embroidery done by old women in former days, but now almost a lost art. 
Tambayang was used for the uppers of sleeves for fiesta, and it formed the scarf worn 
by mothers to carry the baby. There is a taboo on young women doing this special sort 
of needlework. 

vol. xxvi. — no. 99. — 3 

34 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

door, each holding a keen blade without handle (sobung). They all 
surrounded the Malaki in the gold chair, ready to fight him. But the 
Malaki gave them all some betel-nut from his kabir, and made the men 
friendly toward him. Then all pressed around the Malaki to look at 
his kabir, which shone like gold. They had never before seen a man's 
bag like this one. "It is the kabir of the Malaki T'oluk Waig," they 
said. The Malaki slept that night with the other malaki in the house. 

When morning came, the day was dark, like night, for the sun did 
not shine. Then the Malaki took his kampilan and stuck it into his 
belt, and sat down on his shield. There was no light on the next day, 
nor on the next. For eight days the pitchy darkness lasted ; but on 
the ninth day it lifted. Quick from its cradle jumped the baby, now 
grown as tall as the bariri-plant; that is, almost knee-high. 

"Cowards, all of you!" cried the child to the Malaki Lunsud. 
"You are no malaki at all, since you cannot fight the Malaki T'oluk 
Waig." Then, turning to the Malaki T'oluk Waig, the little fellow 
said, "Please teach me how to hold the spear." 

When the Malaki had taught the boy how to make the strokes, the 
two began to fight; for the boy, who was called the Pangalinan, 1 was 
eager to use his spear against the Malaki. But the Malaki had 
magical power (matulus 2 ) , so that when the Pangalinan attacked him 
with sword or spear, the blades of his weapons dissolved into water. 
For eight million days the futile battle went on. At last the Pangalinan 
gave it up, complaining to the Malaki T'oluk Waig, " How can I keep 
on fighting you, when every time I hit you my knives turn to water?" 

Disheartened, the Pangalinan threw away his spear and his sword. 
But the Malaki would not hurt the Pangalinan when they were fight- 
ing; and as soon as the boy had flung his weapons outside the house, 
the Malaki put his arm around him and drew him close. After that, 
the two were friends. 

One day the Pangalinan thought he would look inside the big gold 
box that stood in the house. It was his mother's box. The boy went 
and raised the lid, but as soon as the cover was lifted, his mother came 
out from the box. After this had happened, the Pangalinan got ready 
to go and find the Moglung whom the Malaki had been seeking. The 
boy knew where she lived, for he was the Moglung's little brother 
(tiibe' 3 ) . He took the bamboo ladder that formed the steps to the house, 
and placed it so that it would reach the Shrine in the Sky, whither the 
Moglung had gone. Up the bamboo rounds he climbed, until he 
reached the sky and found his sister. He ran to her crying, "Quick! 
come with me! The great Malaki T'oluk Waig is down there." 

1 The "small boy" of the ancient tales (ulit), who in some magical manner becomes 

s See footnote 4, p. 26. s See footnote 2, p. 20. 

Bagobo Myths 35 

Then the Moglung came down from heaven with her little brother 
to their house where the Malaki was waiting for her. The Moglung 
and the Malaki were very happy to meet again, and they slept together 
that night. 

Next day the Moglung had a talk with the Malaki, and said, "Now 
I want to live with you ; but you remember that other woman, Maguay 
Bulol, that you used to sleep with. You will want her too, and you 
had better send for her." 

So the Malaki summoned Maguay Bulol, and in a few minutes 
Maguay Bulol was there. Then the Malaki had two wives, and they 
all lived in the same house forever. 


Long ago, in the days of the Mona, the Tuglay lived on a high 
mountain. He lived very well, for his cocoanut-trees grew on both 
sides of the mountain. But he had no hemp-plants, and so he had 
to make his clothes of the soft dry sheath that covers the trunk of the 
cocoanut-palm (biinM). This stuff caught fire easily, and many a 
time his clothes ignited from the flame where his dinner was cooking, 
and then he would have to make fresh garments from biinM. 

One day he looked from his house over the neighboring mountains, 
and saw the village of Koblun. He thought it looked pretty in the 
distance. Then he looked in another direction, and saw the town of 
the Malaki Tuangun, and said, "Ah! that is just as nice looking as the 
Koblun town. I will go and see the town of the Malaki Tuangun." 

Immediately he got ready for the journey. He took his spear (that 
was only half a spear, because the fire had burned off a part of the 
handle) and his shield, that was likewise only half a shield. He started 
out, and walked on and on until he reached the mountains called 
" Pabungan Mangumbiten." 

Now, on another mountain there lived a young man named the 
Malaki Itanawa, with his little sister. They lived alone together, for 
they were orphans. The young girl said to her brother, "Let us 
travel over the mountains to-day." 

And the boy answered, "Yes, my sister, we will go." 

And the two climbed over the hills, and they reached the Pabungan 
Mangumbiten soon after the Tuglay. And they were astonished to 
see the great Tuglay. But when the Tuglay saw the young girl, who 
was named Bia Itanawa Inelu, 1 he was so bewildered and startled that he 
turned away his eyes, and could not look at the sister and brother. 

Then the girl prepared a betel-nut and offered it to the Tuglay, 
but he did not like to accept it. But when she had pressed it upon 
him many times, he took the betel and chewed it. 

1 Bia, "lady;" inelu, "orphan," — the orphan lady Itanawa. 

36 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

Then the girl said, "Come with my brother and me to my house, 
for we have no companion." 

But when the girl saw the Tuglay hesitate, she asked him, "Where 
were you going when we met you?" 

The Tuglay answered, "I want to go to the town of the Malaki 
Tuangun, for to my home has come the word that the Malaki is a 
mighty man, and his sister a great lady." 

Then the girl looked at the Tuglay, and said, "If you want to make 
ready to go to the Malaki Tuangun's town, you ought to put on your 
good trousers and a nice jacket." 

At that, the Tuglay looked mournful ; for he was a poor man, and 
had no fine clothes. Then, when the girl saw how the case stood, she 
called for beautiful things, such as a malaki wears, — fine hemp trou- 
sers, beaded jacket, good war-shield and brass-bound spear, ear-plugs 
of pure ivory, and eight necklaces of beads and gold. Straight- 
way at the summons of the Bia, all the fine things appeared ; and the 
Tuglay got ready to go away. He was no longer the poor Tuglay. His 
name was now the Malaki Dugdag Lobis Maginsulu. Like two big 
moons, his ivory ear- plugs shone; when he moved his shield, flames of 
living fire shot from it; and when he held up his spear, the day would 
grow dark, because he was a brave man. His new clothes he sent 1 
upon the swift wind to the Malaki Tuangun's town. 

When the Tuglay started, the Bia gave him her own brass betel-box 
(katakia 2 ) to take with him. It was a katakia that made sounds, and 
was called a "screaming katakia." 

"May I eat the betel-nut from your box?" asked the man; and she 
replied, "Yes, but do not throw away the other things in the box." 

The Malaki Dugdag Lobis Maginsulu walked on until he reached 
the town of the Malaki Tuangun, and sat down on the ground 3 before 
the house. The Malaki Tuangun was a great brass-smith: he made 
katakia and other objects of brass, and hence was called the Malaki 
Tuangun Katakia. As soon as he heard the other malaki call from 
outside, "May I come up into your house?" he sent down eight of his 
slaves to look and see who wanted to visit him. 

And the eight slaves brought word to their master that the Malaki 
Dugdag Lobis Maginsulu waited to enter. 

1 When a Bagobo makes an expedition over the mountains to attend a fiesta, he wears 
his old clothes, and carries his elaborately ornamented garments in the bag on his back. 
On nearing the end of the journey, he goes behind a tree, or into the jungle, and puts on his 
fine clothes. 

8 A box with three compartments, — for betel-nut, buyo-leaf , and calcined shell, — 
cast in brass or bell-metal from a wax mould. This type has rectangular surfaces, and 
is to be distinguished from the kapulan, a type marked by its circular, or elliptical, or 
polygonal top and base. 

* It is the custom of the natives to wait for the host to say, "Come up," before mounting 
the ladder or notched log leading to the door. 

Bagobo Myths 37 

Then the Malaki Tuangun Katakia called to his visitor, "Come 
up, if you can keep from bringing on a fight, because there are many 
showers in my town." 1 

Then the other malaki went up the steps into the house, and the 
Malaki Tuangun said to him., "You shall have a good place to sit 
in my house, — a place where nobody ever sat before." 

Then the Malaki Tuangun prepared a betel-nut for his guest. But 
the Malaki Dugdag Lobis Maginsulu would not take the betel-nut from 
him. So the Malaki Tuangun called his sister, who was called Bia 
Tuangun Katakia, and said to her, "You go outside and prepare a 
betel-nut for the Malaki." 

As soon as the Bia had finished preparing the betel, she took the 
(screaming?) katakia from the Malaki, and set it on the floor. Then 
the Malaki Dugdag Lobis Maginsulu took the betel-nut from the 
lady. When he had finished chewing it, he stood up and went to the 
place where the Bia Tuangun Katakia was sitting, and he lay down 
beside her, and said, "Come, put away your work, and comb my 

"No, I don't like to comb your hair," she replied. 

The Malaki was displeased at this retort, so at last the woman agreed 
to comb his hair, for she did not want to see the Malaki angry. By 
and by the Malaki felt sleepy while his hair was being combed ; and he 
said to the Bia, " Do not wake me up." 

He fell asleep, and did not waken until the next day. Then he 
married the Bia Tuangun Katakia. 

After they had been married for three months, the Bia said to the 
Malaki, "The best man I know is the Manigthum. He was my first 

But the Manigthum had left home, and had gone off to do some big 
fighting. He killed the Malaki Taglapida Pabungan, 2 and he killed 
the Malaki Lindig Ramut ka Langit. 8 

After the Manigthum had slain these great men, he came back to 
the home of his wife. When he came near the house he saw, lying 
down on the ground under the kinarum-tree, 4 the things that he had 
given his wife before he went away, — pendants of pearl, bracelets 

1- The reference here is a little ambiguous. It is suggested that a transposition of 
clauses may throw light on the meaning. Transposed and expanded, the invitation 
would read thus: " Come up into the house for shelter, since there are many showers in 
my town. Come up, provided you can keep from bringing on a fight." 

1 The good man [of the] Folded Mountains (taglapida, "folded;" pabungan, "moun- 

» Lindig, "border;" ramut, "root;" ka, preposition "of;" langit, "sky." 

* A low-growing tree yielding a black dye, which for a very long time has been used 
by women to color hemp. 

38 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

and leglets of brass, gold necklaces (kamagi 1 ) , hair-ornaments of dyed 
goats'-hair and birds'-down, finger-rings, and leg-bands of twisted 
wire hung with bells. As he looked at the beautiful ornaments all 
thrown on the ground, he heard the voice of the Malaki Dugdag 
Lobis Manginsulu calling to him, "Do not come up, because your wife 
is mine." 

Then the two malaki went to fighting with sword and spear. After 
a sharp fight, the Manigthum was killed, and the Malaki Dugdag Lobis 
Maginsulu had the Bia for his wife. 


There is a certain mountain that has a sharp, long crest like a 
kampilan. Up on this mountain stretched many fields of hemp, and 
groves of cocoanut-palms, that belonged to the Malaki and his sister. 

Near to these hemp-fields lived the Basolo-man, under a tall bara- 
yung-tree. His little house was full of venison and pig-meat and 
lard, and he kept a dog to hunt pigs and deer. Although his hut 
looked small and poor, the Basolo possessed treasures of brass and 
beads and fine textiles. He had a kabir, 2 from which darted forked 
lightning ; and in the bag was a betel-box and a necklace of pure gold. 

One day when the Malaki's sister went to look at her hemp, she 
felt curious to go inside the Basolo's house. The Basolo was lying 
on the floor, fast asleep, when the woman entered. She looked at 
the things in the house, and saw hanging on the wall the Basolo's 
bag with the lightning playing on it. Now the bag was an old one, 
and had a lot of mud in it; but the woman thought it must be full 
of gold, because the lightning never ceased to flash from it. So she 
crept across the floor, and took the bag from off the end of the bamboo 
slat on which it hung. Still the Basolo slept, and still the lightning 
continued to play upon the bag. The woman looked inside the bag 
and saw a fine gold betel-box, and when she lifted the lid, there in the 
box lay a necklace of pure gold. Swiftly she closed the box, and 
stealthily drew it out of the bag. Into the folds of her hemp skirt 
she slipped the precious box with the gold necklace inside, and very 
quietly ran down the bamboo ladder at the house-door. 

When she got home, her brother smiled, and said to her, "What has 
happened to you, my sister?" 

Bright flashes of lightning seemed to be coming from the girl. She 
looked almost as if she were made of gold, and the lightning could not 
escape from her. Then she took out the betel-box and the necklace, 

1 A bead necklace, the most highly valued of all Bagobo ornaments. One section is a 
gold or silver cord, several inches long, made of small over-lapping scales of the precious 
metal. The necklace is thought to be of Moro manufacture, and is valued by the Bagobo 
at from one to four agongs. 

2 See footnote 4, p. 32. 

Bagobo Myths 39 

and showed them to her brother, saying that she had found them in the 
Basolo's hut. 

The Basolo awoke, and found his brass katakia and his fine necklace 

"Who has been here?" he cried. 

In a frenzy he hunted through his kabir, throwing out of it his old 
work-knife and his rusty spear-head and all the poor things that he 
kept in his bag. Then he began to moan and weep for his betel-box 
and gold necklace. 

By and by he started out to find his lost things. In the soft soil 
close to the house, he found the footprints of the woman; and, follow- 
ing the prints, he traced her to the Malaki's house. Right there the 
footprints ended. The Basolo stood at the foot of the steps, and 
called, "Who has been in my house?" 

Then he ran up the ladder and rushed into the house, screaming to 
the Malaki's sister, "Give me back my gold necklace! If you don't 
give it back, I'll marry you." 

Quick came the woman's answer, "I don't like you, and I will not 
marry you." 

But her brother was angry because she refused to marry the Basolo. 

At last she agreed to the match, and said to the Basolo, "Yes, I 
will marry you ; but I can't let you live in my house. You must stay 
in your own house over yonder." 

So the Basolo and the Malaki's sister agreed to meet and try ' each 
other (talabana). Then the Basolo went home. 

Not long after this, there came a day when many men went out to 
hunt the wild pig and the deer. And from her house the woman 
heard the sound of many men gathering in the meadow. There were 
Malaki T'oluk Waig and other malaki, who were there ready for the 
chase. And the girl thought, "I will go out and see the men." 

Immediately she hurried to dress herself carefully. She put on nine 
waists one over another, and similarly nine skirts (panapisan) ; and 
then she girded herself with a chain of brass links that went a thousand 
times round her waist. Over her left shoulder she hung her small 
beaded basket (kambol) that was decorated with row upon row of 
little tinkling bells, a million in all, and each bell as round as a pea. 

But the Basolo knew that the girl was dressing to go out, and he was 
angry that she should want to go where there were so many men 
gathered. In order to keep watch on her movements, he climbed up 
into a hiding-place behind the great leaves of an areca-palm, 2 and 
waited. Presently he saw the woman walking to the meadow. And 
she staid there just one night. But the Malaki was alarmed when he 

1 A trial-marriage before the Bagobo ceremony is not uncommon. 

2 The tree that bears betel-nuts, and is commonly called "betel-nut tree." 

40 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

found that his sister had gone out to see the men. And after he had 
taken off his clothes, he began to put them on again to follow his sister. 

Then, when the girl's brother and all the other malaki had assembled 
in the meadow, the Basolo came down from the tree and went home. 
When he got into his house, he took off his coat, and became a Malaki 
T'oluk Waig. His body shone like the sun (you could hardly look at 
him), and all his garments were of gold. He had on nine jackets, one 
over another, and nine pairs of trousers. Then he called for his horse, 
whose name was Kambeng Diluk; 1 and Kambeng neighed into the air, 
and waited, prancing, before the house. Soon the Malaki T'oluk Waig 
mounted his horse, and sitting on a saddle of mirrored glass, he rode 
toward the meadow. Then Kambeng Diluk began to run, just like the 

When they reached the meadow, there were many people there. The 
Malaki's wife was sitting on the grass, with men grouped around her, 
and she was laughing with them. But she did not recognize her 
husband when he came riding up. After everybody had arrived, 
they set fire to the long grass, and burned off the meadow, so as to 
bring the wild pigs and the deer out of ambush. Then many men 
entered the chase and ran their horses ; but none could catch the deer 
or the wild boar, except only the great Malaki, who had been the 
Basolo: he alone speared much game. 

When the burning of the meadow and the hunt were finished, many 
men wanted to marry the Malaki T'oluk Waig's wife, and many of them 
embraced her. But the Malaki T'oluk Waig stood up, fierce with 
passion. His body was almost like a flame to look at. And he fought 
the other malaki, and killed many, until at last all were dead but one, 
and that was the woman's brother. 

When all was done, the Malaki mounted his horse and rode back to 
his home. His house was all of gold, and yet it looked just like a mean 
little hut nestled under the barayung-tree. Then the Malaki picked 
up his coat and put it on : at once he became a Basolo again. He then 
went over to the woman's house and waited there for her to come 
back. By and by she came loitering along, crying all the way, because 
she was afraid to meet her husband. But the Basolo staid right along 
in the house, and lived with the woman and her brother. Then, 
after they had tried each other, they were married with Bagobo 
ceremony. The Basolo took off his coat, and again became a Malaki 
T'oluk Waig. They lived well in their house, and they had a big 
hacienda of hemp and cocoanuts and banana-plants. 

1 Possibly a form of kambin ("goat"); diluk ("little"); i.e., " little goat," a name that 
would be selected readily by a Bagobo for a fleet horse. 

Bagobo Myths 41 

8. THE MONA 1 

When the Mona lived on the earth, there was a certain man who said 
to his wife, " I want to go out and make some traps." 

So that day he went out and made about thirty traps, of sticks with 
nooses attached, to snare jungle-fowl. His work finished, he returned 
home. Next day he went out to look at his traps, but found that he 
had caught, not a wild chicken, but a big lizard {palas*) with pretty 
figured patterns on its back. The man said to the lizard, "Halloo!" 

Then he released the lizard, and gave him his own carrying-bag 
and work-knife, and told him to go straight to his house. But the 
lizard was afraid to go to the man's house, for he suspected that the 
man wanted to make a meal of him. Instead, he ran up a tree, taking 
with him the knife and the bag. The tree overhung a clear brook, and 
the lizard could see his reflection (alung 3 ) in the water. 

No fowl could the man snare that day, and he went home. As soon 
as he reached the house, he said to his wife, "Are you all done cleaning 
that lizard?" 

"What lizard are you talking about? " returned the woman. " There's 
no lizard here." 

"I sent one here," insisted the man, "and I'm hungry." 

"We have no lizard," repeated his wife. 

In a hot temper the man went back to his traps, and there saw the 
tracks of the lizard, leading, not towards his house, but exactly in the 
opposite direction. Following the tracks, he reached the brook, and 
at once caught sight of the lizard's reflection in the water. Immedi- 
ately the man jumped into the water, grasping for the image of the 
slippery lizard; but he had to jump out again with empty hands. He 
tried again. Hour after hour he kept on jumping, until he got so 
wet and cold that he had to give it up and go home. 

"The lizard is right over there in the brook," he told his wife; 
"but I could not get hold of him." 

"I'll go and look at him with you," she said. 

So together they reached the brook; and the woman glanced first 
into the water, and then up into the tree. 

"You foolish man," she smiled. "Look in the tree for your lizard. 
That's just his shadow (alung 3 ) in the water." 

The man looked up, and saw the lizard in the tree. Then he started 
to climb up the trunk, but found himself so chilled and stiff from 
jumping into the water, that he kept slipping down whenever he tried 
to climb. Then the woman took her turn, and got part way up the 

1 See footnote 2, p. 16. 

* One of the Agamidce. 

* The same word is used for the reflection in the water and for the shadow cast on the 
ground, since both phenomena are regarded as manifestations of the same spirit (gimokud). 

42 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

tree. The man looked up at his wife, and noticed that she had sores 
on parts of her body where she could not see them, and he called to her, 
"Come down! don't climb any higher; you've got sores." So she 
climbed down. 

Then her husband wanted to get some medicine out of his bag to 
give her for the sores; but the lizard had his bag. 

"Throw down my bag and knife to me!" he shouted up to the 
lizard, "because I must get busy about fixing medicine for my wife." 

And the lizard threw down to him his knife and his bag. 

As soon as they got home, the man made some medicine for his 
wife; but the sores did not heal. Then he went to his friend Tuglay 
and said, "What is the medicine for my wife?" 

Tuglay went home with the man ; and when they reached the house, 
he told him what he was about to do. "Look!" said the Tuglay. 

Then the man looked, and saw the Tuglay go to his wife and consort 
with her. 

And the husband let him do it, for he said to himself, "That is the 
medicine for my wife." 

When the Tuglay was done with the woman, he said, "Go now to 
your wife." 

Then the man went to her, and said, "This is the best of all." 

After that, the man cared for nothing except to be with his wife. 
He did not even care to eat. He threw out of the house all the food 
they had, — the rice, the sugarcane, the bananas, and all of their 
other things. He threw them far away. But after they had taken 
no food for several days, the man and the woman began to grow thin 
and weak. Still they did not try to get food, because they wanted only 
to gratify their passion 1 for each other. At last both of them got 
very skinny, and finally they died. 


The Buso live in the great branching trees and in the graveyard. 
The night after a person has been buried, the Buso dig up the body 
with their claws, and drink all the blood, and eat the flesh. The bones 
they leave, after eating all the flesh off from them. If you should 
go to the graveyard at night, you would hear a great noise. It is the 
sound of all the Buso talking together as they sit around on the 
ground, with their children playing around them. You cannot see 
the Buso; but if you do get a glimpse of one of them, it is only for a 
few minutes. He looks like a shadow. 

In the beginning, everybody could see the Buso, because then the 

1 The Mona were aged people, without sexual passions; hence this episode presents a 
situation out of the ordinary. 

Bagobo Myths 43 

Buso and the people were friendly together. Nobody died in those 
days, for the Buso helped the men, and kept them from dying. But 
many years ago the Buso and man had a quarrel, and after that nobody 
could see the Buso any more. 

Now, there is one way to see Buso; but a man must be very 
brave to do it. While the coffin for a dead man is being made, if you 
cut some chips from it and carry them to the place where the tree 
was felled for the box, and lay the chips on the stump from which the 
wood was cut, and then go again on the night of the funeral to the same 
place, you will see Buso. Stand near the stump, and you will see 
passing before you (1) a swarm of fireflies; (2) the intestines of the 
dead person; (3) many heads of the dead person; (4) many arms of 
the dead person; (5) many legs of the dead person; (6) the entire body 
passing before you; (7) shadows flitting before you; and finally (8) 
the Buso. But no one yet has been brave enough to try it. 

"But one thing I did when my uncle died," said my boy informant. 
" I chipped a piece of wood from the coffin, and tied it to a long string, 
like a fly to a fish-hook. This I let down between the slats of the 
floor, as I stood in the room where the dead body lay, and I held the 
line dangling. As a fish catches at the bait, so Buso seized that bit 
of wood, and for about two minutes I could feel him pulling at it from 
under the house. Then I drew up the string with the wood. Buso 
was there under the house, and smelt the chip from the coffin." 


In a little house there lived a man and his wife together. One 
night, after they had been married for a long time, the man told his 
wife that he would like to go fishing. 

"Oh, yes! my husband," said the woman eagerly. "Go, and bring 
me some nice fish to-morrow, so that we can have a good meal." 

The man went out that same night to fish. And his wife was left 
alone in the house. 

In the night, while her husband was away, the Buso came, and tried 
to pass himself off as her husband, saying, "You see I am back. I 
got no fish, because I was afraid in the river." Then the Buso-man 
made a great fire, and sat down by it. 

But the woman did not believe that it was her husband. So she 
hid her comb in a place on the floor, and she said to her comb, "If the 
Buso calls me, do you answer. Tell him that I have run away 
because I have great fear of the Buso." 

Then, when the Buso called, the Comb answered just as the woman 
had told it. By and by the Buso went away. In the morning, the 
man came back from fishing, because daylight had come. And he had 
a fine catch of fish. Then the woman told him all that had happened, 

44 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

and the man never again let his wife sleep alone in the house. After 
that, everything went well ; for Buso was afraid of the man, and never 
again attempted to come there. 


Two children went out into the field to tend their rice-plants. They 
said these words to keep the little birds away from the grain : — 

"One, one, maya-bird, 1 
Yonder in the north; 
Keep off from eating it, 
This my rice." 

Just then they heard the sound of a voice, calling from the great 
pananag-tree, 3 "Wait a minute, children, until I make a basket for 

"What is that?" said the boy to his sister. 

"Oh, nothing!" answered the little girl. "It's the sound of 

Then the children called to their father and mother; but only from 
the pananag-tree the answer came, "Just wait till I finish this basket 
to hold you in." 

Down, then, from the tree came the great Buso, with a big, deep 
basket (such as women carry bananas and camotes 3 in) hanging from his 
shoulders. The frightened children did not dare to run away; and 
Buso sat down near by in the little hut where the rice was kept. 
Soon he said to the children, "Please comb out my nice hair." 

But, when they tried to comb his hair, they found it swarming with 
big lice and worms. 

"Well, let's go on now," said the Buso. Then he stuffed the children 
into his deep burden-basket, and swung the basket upon his back. 

On the instant the little girl screamed out, "Wait a minute, Buso! 
I've dropped my comb. Let me down to pick it up." 

So the Buso sat down on the ground, and let the girl climb out of the 
basket. He sat waiting for her to find her comb ; but all the time she 
was picking up big stones, and putting them into the basket. Her 
brother got out of the basket too, and then both girl and boy climbed 
up into a tall betel-nut tree, 4 leaving Buso with a basket full of stones 
on his back. 

Up to his house in the pananag-tree went Buso with the heavy 
basket. When his wife saw him, she laughed and shouted very loud. 

1 A small bird that steals grain from the growing corn and rice. A clapper of split 
bamboo is sometimes made to scare away the maya. 
1 One of the thick-branching trees haunted by demons. 
* A native sweet-potato. The Bagobo name is kasila. 
4 See footnote 2, p. 39. 

Bagobo Myths 45 

She was glad, because she thought there was a man in the basket, all 
ready to eat. But, when Buso slipped the basket down from his 
shoulders, there was no human flesh in it, but only big stones. 

Then the angry Buso hurried back to look for the two children. At 
last he caught sight of them far up in the betel-nut tree, and wondered 
how he could get them. Now, at the foot of the tree there was a 
growth of the wild plant called "bagkang;" and Buso said words to 
make the bagkang grow faster and taller : — 

"Tubu, tubu, bagkang, 
Grow, grow, bagkang, 

Baba, baba mamaa'n." 1 
Handle, handle, betel-nut. 

But the children, in their turn, said : — 

"Tubu, tubu, mamaa'n, 
Grow, grow, betel-nut, 

Baba, baba bagkang." 
Handle, handle, bagkang. 

By and by, when the bagkang-stems had grown so tall as almost to 
reach the clusters of betel-nuts at the top of the trunk, the boy and 
girl said to each other. "Let us pick betel-nuts, and throw them down 
on the bagkang." 

And as soon as they began to pick, the betel-nuts became so big 
and heavy that the bagkang-plants fell down when the betel-nuts 
dropped on them. 

Then the Buso went away; and the children climbed down in 
haste, ran home, and told their mother and father how the Buso had 
tried to carry them off. 

Datu Ayo was a great man among the Bagobo, well known through- 
out the mountain-country for his bravery and his riches. He had 
gathered in his house many products of Bagobo workmanship in 
textiles and brass and fine weapons. At his death, human sacrifices 
of slaves were offered up for him. It was not many years ago that he 
went down to the great city of the dead, and many of his children and 
grandchildren are living now. His sons like to think about their 
father's renown; and, as a reminder, the eldest son, Kawayun, always 

1 Buso is saying a charm to make the stem of the bagkang-plant grow tall enough to 
form a handle for the betel-nut tree, so that the children may be dragged down (tubu, 
"grow;" baba, "rattan strap forming the basket-handle;" mamaa'n, "betel-nut"). The 
children, for their part, say other magic words to make the tree grow at an equally rapid 
rate, so that its branches may swing above the bagkang as a handle for it. The Buso's 
formula appears to have been the more effective of the two charms in producing a magically 
rapid growth. 

46 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

kept in his medicine-case two of the incisor teeth of the great Ayo, 
until he needed money, and sold the medicine-case with its contents. 
It had made Kawayun happy to look at his father's teeth. 

When Datu Ayo died, his wife was about to become a mother. 
Now, the Bagobo women know that, when they become pregnant, 
they must be very careful to protect themselves from the evil Buso. 
On going to bed at night, an expectant mother places near her the 
woman's knife (gulat), the kampilan, 1 and all the other knives, to 
frighten Buso away. Failing this, the Buso will come to the woman 
while she sleeps, and change her baby into a Buso-child. One night, 
the wife of Datu Ayo lay down to sleep without putting any knives 
near her; and that very night the Buso came, and he transformed 
her child into a Buso-child. She did not know when he came, nor 
did she even think that a Buso had been near her, until her baby 
was born. 

Everybody around the woman at the birth saw that something 
was the matter with the child. It was little and frail, and as weak 
as threads of cotton. Its body was flat, and its legs and arms were 
helpless and flabby. Then all the men said, "That is a Buso-child." 

As the little boy grew old enough to creep, he moved just like a 
fish, with a sort of wriggling motion. He could not stand on his feet, 
for his legs were too weak to support his body; and he could not sit 
down, but only lie flat. He could never be dressed in umpak 2 and 
saroa'r, 3 and his body remained small and puny. 

Now the boy is more than fourteen years old, but he cannot walk a 
step. He understands very well what is said to him, and he can talk, 
though not distinctly. When he hears it said that somebody is dead, 
he breaks into laughter, and keeps on laughing. This trait alone 
would stamp him as a Buso-child. 


One day a man went out, carrying seventeen arrows, to hunt mon- 
keys; but he found none. Next day he went again, and, as he walked 
along on the slope of the mountain called Malagu'san, he heard the 
sound of the chattering of monkeys in the trees. Looking up, he 
saw the great monkey sitting on an aluma'yag-tree. He took a shot 
at the monkey, but his arrow missed aim; and the next time he had 
no better luck. Twice eight he tried it; but he never hit the mark. 
The monkey seemed to lead a charmed life. Finally he took his 
seventeenth and last arrow, and brought down his game ; the monkey 
fell down dead. But a voice came from the monkey's body that said, 
"You must carry me." 

1 See footnote 1, p. 18. 2 See footnote 2, p. 30. 3 See footnote 1, p. 30. 

Bagobo Myths 47 

So the man picked up the monkey, and started to go back home; but 
on the way the monkey said, "You are to make a fire, and eat me up 
right here." 

Then the man laid the monkey on the ground. Again came the 
voice, "You will find a bamboo to put me in; by and by you shall eat 

Off went the man to find the bamboo called laya, letting the monkey 
lie on the ground, where he had dropped it. 

He walked on until he reached a forest of bamboo. There, swinging 
on a branch of the laya, was a karirik-bird. And the bird chirped to 
the man, "Where are you going?" 

The man answered, "I am looking for bamboo to put the monkey 

But the karirik-bird exclaimed, "Run away, quick! for by and by 
the monkey will become a huso. I will wait here, and be cutting the 
laya; then, when the monkey calls you, I will answer him." 

In the mean time the monkey had become a great buso. He had 
only one eye, and that stood right in the middle of his forehead, looking 
just like the big bowl called langungan (the very bad buso have only 
one eye; some have only one leg). 

After the Buso-monkey had waited many hours for the man to 
come back, he started out to look for him. When he reached the 
forest of laya, he called to the man, "Where are you?" 

Then the karirik-bird answered from the tree, "Here I am, right 
here, cutting the bamboo." 

But the man had run away, because the bird had sent him off, and 
made him run very fast. 

As soon as the bird had answered the Buso, it flew off to another 
bamboo-tree, and there the Buso spied it, and knew that he had been 
fooled; and he said, "It's a man I want; you're just a bird. I don't 
care for you." 

Directly then the Buso began to smell around the ground where 
the man had started to run up the mountain-side, and, as quick as he 
caught the scent, he trailed the man. He ran and ran, and all the 
time the man was running too ; but soon the Buso began to gain on 
him. After a while, when the Buso had come close upon him, the 
man tried to look for some covert. He reached a big rock, and cried 
out, "O rock! will you give me shelter when the Buso tries to eat me?" 

"No," replied the rock; "for, if I should help you, the Buso would 
break me off and throw me away." 

Then the man ran on; and the Buso came nearer and nearer, 
searching behind every rock as he rushed along, and spying up into 
every tree, to see if, perchance, the man were concealed there. 

At last the man came to the lemon-tree called kabayawa, that has 

48 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

long, sharp thorns on its branches. And the man cried out to the 
lemon-tree, "Could you protect me, if I were to hide among your leaves 
and flowers?" 

Instantly the lemon-tree answered, "Come right up, if you want to." 

Then the man climbed the tree, and concealed himself in the 
branches, among the flowers. Very soon the Buso came under the 
lemon-tree, and shouted to it, "I smell a man here. You are hiding 

The Kabayawa said, "Sure enough, here's a man! You just 
climb up and get him." 

Then the Buso began to scramble up the tree; but as he climbed, 
the thorns stuck their sharp points into him. The higher he climbed, 
the longer and sharper grew the thorns of the tree, piercing and 
tearing, until they killed the Buso. 

It is because the monkey sometimes turns into a Buso that many 
Bagobo refuse to eat monkey. But some of the mountain Bagobo 
eat monkey to keep off sores. 


The Moon is a great liar. One night long ago, the Buso looked over 
the earth and could not discover any people, because everybody was 
asleep. Then Buso went to the Moon, and asked her where all the 
people were to be found. 

"Oh, you will not find a living person on the earth!" replied the 
Moon. "Everybody in the world is dead." 

"Good!" thought Buso. "To-morrow I shall have a fine meal of 

Buso never eats living flesh, only dead bodies. 

Next morning, Buso started for the graveyard ; but on the way he 
met the Sun, and stopped to speak to him. 

"How about the men on earth?" he questioned. 

"They're all right," said the Sun. " All the people are working and 
playing and cooking rice." 

The Buso was furious to find himself tricked. That night he went 
again to the Moon and asked for the men, and, as before, the Moon 
assured him that everybody was dead. But the next morning the 
Sun showed him all the people going about their work as usual. 
Thus the Buso has been fooled over and over again. The Moon tells 
him every night the same story. 


The cat is the best animal. She keeps us from the Buso. One 
night the Buso came into the house, and said to the cat, " I should like 
to eat your mistress." 

1 See footnote, p. 25. 

Bagobo Myths 49 

" I will let you do it," replied the cat; " but first you must count all 
the hairs of my coat." 

So the Buso began to count. But while he was counting, the cat 
kept wriggling her tail, and sticking up her back. That made her fur 
stand up on end, so that the Buso kept losing count, and never knew 
where he left off. And while the Buso was still trying to count the 
cat's hairs, daylight came. 

This is one reason why we must not kill the cat. If a Bagobo should 
kill a cat, it would make him very sick. He would get skinny, and 
die. Some Bagobo have been known to kill the cat; but they always 
got sick afterwards. 


The Tigbanua' are the worst of all the Buso ; they want to be eating 
human flesh all the time. They live in great forests, — in the pananag- 
tree, in the magbo-tree, in the baliti-tree, and in the liwaan-tree. 

One day a man went out to hunt, and he took his dog with him. On 
his way to the woods, he speared a very little pig. By the time he 
reached the great forest, night had come. He made a little shelter, 
and kindled a fire. Then he cleaned the pig and cut it into pieces, 
and tied three sticks of wood together, and placed them on two upright 
pieces of wood stuck in the ground. On this paga he laid the pig-meat 
to broil over the flames. 

By and by he got very sleepy, and thought he would go under the 
shelter and take a nap. But just then he heard voices up in the big 
trees. He listened, and heard the Tigbanua' talking to one another. 

The Tigbanua' that lives in the liwaan-tree called out to the Tig- 
banua' that lives in the pananag-tree, "The mighty chief of all the 
Tigbanua', who lives in the sigmit-tree, gives this command to his 
people : ' Don't make fun of the man, because he has been here many 
times before.' " 

And right there, under the trees, the man, standing by his dog, was 
listening to the talk of the Buso. The dog was sleeping near the fire, 
and he was as big as the calf of a carabao. Very quietly his master 
spread his own sleeping-tunic (kisi) over the dog, and crept away, 
leaving him asleep in the warm place. The man hid in the shelter, 
and waited. 

Presently many of the Tigbanua' began coming down from the trees, 
for some of them did not give obedience (paminug) to their Datu. 
They gathered around the fire, and sat down. By and by, as they sat 
near the fire, the penis (tapo) of every one of the Tigbanua' began to grow 
bigger and bigger (lanag-lanag) . All at once, the Tigbanua' caught 
sight of the tunic spread out, and showing the form of a huge head 
and body under it. They all thought it was the man ; and they rushed 

VOL. XXVI. NO. 99. 4. 

50 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

up to it, and hugged it. But the dog woke up, jumped out from under 
the tunic, and bit the Tigbanua'. Then they all ran. One of them 
climbed up the tree to his own house, the dog holding on to his leg, 
and biting him all the time. But when they were halfway up the 
tree, the dog fell down and got hurt. And the Tigbanua' called down 
to the dog, "Swell up, swell up!" ("Pigsa, pigsaJ") 

All the other Tigbanua' were afraid of the big dog, and ran away. So 
the man slept well all night, because the Buso could not hurt him now. 


Before the world was made, there were Tagamaling. The Taga- 
maling is the best Buso, because he does not want to hurt man all of 
the time. Tagamaling is actually Buso only a part of the time ; that 
is, the month when he eats people. One month he eats human flesh, 
and then he is Buso; the next month he eats no human flesh, and then 
he is a god. So he alternates, month by month. The month he is 
Buso, he wants to eat man during the dark of the moon; that is, 
between the phases that the moon is full in the east and new in the 

The other class of Buso, however, wants human flesh all of the time. 
They are the Tigbanua', the chief of whom is Datu of all the Buso. A 
Tigbanua' lives in his own house, and goes out only to eat the bodies of 
the dead. 

The Tagamaling makes his house in trees that have hard wood, and 
low, broad-spreading branches. His house is almost like gold, and is 
called " Palimbing," but it is made so that you cannot see it; and, when 
you pass by, you think, "Oh! what a fine tree with big branches," not 
dreaming that it is the house of a Tagamaling. Sometimes, when you 
walk in the forest, you think you see one of their houses; but when you 
come near to the place, there is nothing. Yet you can smell the good 
things to eat in the house. 

Once a young man named Duling, and his younger brother, went 
out into the woods to trap wild chickens. Duling had on his back a 
basket holding a decoy cock, together with the snares of running- 
nooses and all the parts of the trap. While they were looking for a 
good spot to drive in the stakes for the snare, they heard the voice of 
Tagamaling in the trees, saying, "Duling, Duling, come in! My 
mother is making a little fiesta here." 

The boys looked up, and could see the house gleaming there in the 
branches, and there were two Tagamaling-women calling to them. 
In response to the call, Duling's younger brother went up quickly into 
the house; but Duling waited on the ground below. He wanted the 
Tagamaling-girls to come down to him, for he was enamoured (kala- 
tugan) of them. Then one girl ran down to urge Duling to come up 

Bagobo Myths 51 

into the tree. And as soon as she came close to him, he caught her to 
his breast, and hugged her and caressed her. 

In a moment, Duling realized that the girl was gone, and that he was 
holding in his arms a nanga-bush, full of thorns. He had thought to 
catch the girl, but, instead, sharp thorns had pricked him full of sores. 
Then from above he heard the woman's voice, tauntingly sweet, 
"Don't feel bad, Duling; for right here is your younger brother." 

Yet the young man, gazing here and there, saw around him only tall 
trees, and could not catch a glimpse of the girl who mocked him. 

Immediately, Duling, as he stood there, was turned into a rock. 

But the little brother married the Tagamaling-girl. 

There is a place high up in the mountains of Mindanao, about eight 
hours' ride west of Santa Cruz, where you may see the rock, and you 
will know at once that it is a human figure. There is Duling, with 
the trap and the decoy cock on his shoulder. You may see the cock's 
feathers too. 


The S'iring 1 is the ugly man that has long nails and curly hair. He 
lives in the forest trees. If a boy goes into the forest without a 
companion, the S'iring tries to carry him off. When you meet a 
S'iring, he will look like your father, or mother, or some friend ; and 
he will hide his long nails behind his back, so that you cannot see them. 
It is the S'iring who makes the echo (a'u'd). When you talk in a loud 
voice, the S'iring will answer you in a faint voice, because he wants to 
get you and carry you away. 

There was once a boy who went without a companion into the forest, 
and he met a man who looked just like his own father, but it was a 
S'iring; and the S'iring made him believe that he was his father. The 
S'iring said to the boy, "Come, you must go with me. We will shoot 
some wild birds with our bow and arrows." 

And the boy, not doubting that he heard his father's voice, followed 
the S'iring into the deep forest. After a while, the boy lost his memory, 
and forgot the way to his own house. The S'iring took him up on a 
high mountain, and gave him food ; but the poor boy had now lost his 
mind, and he thought the food was a milleped one fathom long, or it 
seemed to him the long, slim worm called liwati. 

So the days went on, the boy eating little, and growing thinner and 
weaker all the time. When he met any men in the forest, he grew 
frightened, and would run away. When he had been a long time in 
the forest, the S'iring called to him and said, "We will move on now." 

So they started off again. When they reached the high bank of a 

1 The S'iring are said to appear in the likeness of some near relative of the wanderer 
in the forest (s-, prefix widely used by mountain Bagobo before an initial vowel of a proper 
name; iring, "like" or "similar to"). 

52 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

deep and swift-flowing river, the S'iring scratched the boy with his 
long nails. Straightway the boy felt so tired that he could no longer 
stand on his legs, and then he dropped down into the ravine. He fell 
on the hard rocks, so that his bones were broken, and his skull split 

All this time, the mother at home was mourning for her son, and 
crying all day long. But soon she arranged a little shrine (tambara 1 ) 
under the great tree, and, having placed there a white bowl with a few 
betel-nuts and some buyo-leaf as an offering for her son, she crouched 
on the ground and prayed for his life to the god in the sky. 

Now, when the S'iring heard her prayer, he took some betel-nuts, 
and went to the place where the boy's body lay. On the parts where 
the bones were broken, he spit betel-nut, and did the same to the 
boy's head. Immediately the boy came to life, and felt well again. 
Then the S'iring took him up, and carried him to the shrine where 
the mother was praying; but she could not see the S'iring nor her 
boy. She went home crying. 

That night, as the woman slept, she dreamed that a boy came close 
to her, and spoke about her son. "To-morrow morning," he said, 
"you must pick red peppers, and get a lemon, 2 and carry them to the 
shrine, and burn them in the fire." 

Next morning, the woman hastened to gather the peppers, and get 
a lemon, and with happy face she ran to the shrine under the big tree. 
There she made a fire, and burned the lemon and the red peppers, as 
the dream had told her. And, as soon as she had done this, her son 
appeared from under the great tree. Then his mother caught him in 
her arms, and held him close, and cried for joy. 

When you lose your things, you may be sure that the S'iring has 
hidden them. What you have to do is to burn some red peppers with 
beeswax (tadu ka petiukan 3 ), and observe carefully the direction in 
which the smoke goes. The way the smoke goes points out where your 
things are hidden, because the S'iring is afraid of the wax of bees. 
He is afraid, too, of red peppers and of lemons. 


Not long ago, a young man named Iro went out, about two o'clock 
in the afternoon, to get some tobacco from one of the neighbors. Not 

1 The family altar seen in many Bagobo houses. It consists of two slim rods of bamboo 
(attached to the wall, and standing upright) , split at the upper ends so as to support each a 
bowl of white crockery, in which offerings of betel-nut, brass bracelets, and other objects, 
are placed. Similar shrines are sometimes put up under trees or by a mountain-stream. 

2 Red peppers and a piece or two of lemon laid under the house are effective in keeping 
Buso away from that vicinity; and the use of the same charm here against the S'iring 
suggests that the S'iring may not be separated by a very sharp line from the Buso who 
crowd the forests. 

8 Tadu ("wax"), ka (preposition "of"), peliukan ("bees"). 

Bagobo Myths 53 

far from his house, he saw his friend Atun coming along; and Atun 
said to him, "I've got some tobacco hidden away in a place in the 
woods. Let us go and get it." 

So they went along together. When they reached the forest, Atun 
disappeared, and Iro could not see which way he had gone. Then he 
concluded that it was not Atun, but a S'iring, whom he had met. 
He started for home, and reached there about eight o'clock in the 
evening. To his astonishment, he saw Atun sitting there in the house. 
Confused and wondering, he asked Atun, "Did you carry me away?" 

But his friend Atun laughed, and said, "Where should I carry you? 
I have not been anywhere." 

Then Iro was convinced that a S'iring had tried to lure him into 
the forest. 

When you have a companion, the S'iring cannot hurt you. 




There came a day when the kingfisher (kobug 1 ) had nothing to drink, 
and was thirsty for water. Then she walked along the bed of the 
brook, searching for a drink; but the waters of the brook were all 
dried up. 

Now, on that very day, the Maganud went up the mountain to get 
some agsam 2 to make leglets for himself. And when he came near 
to where the bulla grows, he stopped to urinate, and the urine 
sprinkled one of the great bulla-leaves. Then he went on up the moun- 
tain. Just then, the kingfisher came along, still looking for a moun- 
tain-stream. Quickly she caught sight of the leaf of the bulla-tree all 
sprinkled with water; but the man had gone away. Then the king- 
fisher gladly drank a few drops of the water, and washed her feathers. 
But no sooner had she quenched her thirst, and taken a bath, than 
her head began to pain her. Then she went home to her little house 
in the ground. 

Now, every day the kingfisher laid one egg, and that day she laid 
her egg as usual. But when the egg hatched out, it was no feathered 
nestling, but a baby-boy, that broke the shell. 

"Oh!" cried the frightened bird. "What will become of me?" 
Then she ran off a little way from her nest, and started to fly away. 

• This bird, often called a "hornbill" by foreigners in the Philippines, is probably the 
halcyon kingfisher (Ceyx euerythra) of the islands. The ground hornbill is confined to 
Africa; and the tree hornbill of the Philippines does not make its nest at the foot of trees, 
as in this story. 

2 A mountain-plant whose stem has a thin, glossy, black sheath, that is stripped off and 
used in twisting the decorative leglet called tikus. 

54 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

But the little boy cried out, "Mother, mother, don't be afraid of 

So the kingfisher came back to her baby. And the child grew 
bigger every day. 

After a while, the boy was old enough to walk and play around. 
Then one day he went alone to the house of the Maganud, and climbed 
up the steps and looked in at the door. The Maganud was sitting 
there on the floor of his house; and the little boy ran up to him and 
hugged him, and cried for joy. But the Maganud was startled and 
dismayed ; for he was a chaste malaki, 1 and had no children. Yet this 
boy called him "father," and begged for ripe bananas in a very familiar 
manner. After they had talked for a little while, the Maganud went 
with the child to the home of the kingfisher. 

The kingfisher had made her nest at the foot of a great hollow tree. 
She had dug out a hole, about four feet deep, in the soft ground, and 
fixed a roof by heaping over the hole the powdered rotten bark of the 
old tree. The roof stood up just a few inches above the ground; and 
when the Maganud saw it, he thought it was a mere little heap of 
earth. Immediately, however, as he looked at the lowly nest, it 
became a fine house with walls of gold, and pillars of ivory. The 
eaves were all hung with little bells (korung-korung 2 ) ; and the whole 
house was radiantly bright, for over it forked lighting played con- 

The kingfisher took off her feather coat, and became a lovely woman, 
and then she and the Malaki were married. They had bananas and 
cocoanut-groves, and all things, and they became rich people. 


One day a woman went out to find water. She had no water to 
drink, because all the streams were dried up. As she went along, she 
saw some water in a leaf. She drank it, and washed her body. As 
soon as she had drunk the water, her head began to hurt. Then she 
went home, spread out a mat, lay down on it, and went to sleep. 
She slept for nine days. When she woke up, she took a comb and 
combed her hair. As she combed it, a squirrel-baby came out from 
her hair. After the baby had been in the house one week, it began to 
grow and jump about. It staid up under the roof of the house. 

One day the Squirrel said to his mother, "O mother! I want you 
to go to the house of the Datu who is called 'sultan,' and take these 
nine kamagi 3 and these nine finger-rings to pay for the sultan's 
daughter, because I want to marry her." 

1 In a strict sense, the term malaki is never applied to a man, unless he is young, un- 
married, and perfectly chaste. But this technical use is not always preserved. 

2 Small bells cast from a hand-made wax mould, and extensively used for decorating 
baskets, bags, belts, etc. 

3 See footnote i, p. 38. 

Bagobo Myths 55 

Then the mother went to the sultan's house and remained there an 
hour. The sultan said, "What do you want?" 

The woman answered, "Nothing. I came for betel-nuts." Then 
the woman went back home. 

The Squirrel met her, and said, "Where are my nine necklaces?" 

"Here they are," said the woman. 

But the Squirrel was angry at his mother, and bit her with his little 

Again he said to his mother, "You go there and take the nine 

So the woman started off again. When she reached the sultan's 
house, she said to him, " I am come with these nine necklaces and these 
nine finger-rings that my son sends to you." 

"Yes," said the sultan; "but I want my house to become gold, and 
I want all my plants to become gold, and everything I have to turn 
into gold." 

But the woman left the presents to pay for the sultan's daughter. 
The sultan told her that he wanted his house to be turned into gold 
that very night. Then the woman went back and told all this to her son. 

The Squirrel said, "That is good, my mother." 

Now, when night came, the Squirrel went to the sultan's house, and 
stood in the middle of the path, and called to his brother, the Mouse, 
"My brother, come out! I want to see you." 

Then the great Mouse came out. All the hairs of his coat were of 
gold, and his eyes were of glass. 

The Mouse said, "What do you want of me, my brother Squirrel?" 

"I called you," answered the Squirrel, "for your gold coat. I want 
some of that to turn the sultan's house into gold." 

Then the Squirrel bit the skin of the Mouse, and took off some of the 
gold, and left him. Then he began to turn the sultan's things into 
gold. First of all, he rubbed the gold on the betel-nut trees of the 
sultan; next, he rubbed all the other trees and all the plants; third, 
he rubbed the house and all the things in it. Then the sultan's 
town you could see as in a bright day. You would think there was no 
night there — always day. 

All this time, the sultan was asleep. When he woke up, he was so 
frightened to see all his things, and his house, of gold, that he died in 
about two hours. 

Then the Squirrel and the daughter of the sultan were married. The 
Squirrel staid in her father's home for one month, and then they went 
to live in the house of the Squirrel's mother. And they took from the 
sultan's place, a deer, a fish, and all kinds of food. After the sultan's 
daughter had lived with the Squirrel for one year, he took off his coat 
and became a Malaki T'oluk Waig. 1 

1 See footnote 2, p. 28. 

56 Journal of American Folk-Lore 


Very long ago the cocoanut used to be the head of the cat. That is 
why the cat loves cocoanut so much. When the Bagobo are eating 
cocoanut, they let the cat jump up and have some too, because her 
head once turned into a cocoanut. When the cat hears the Bagobo 
scraping cocoanut in the kitchen, she runs quickly to get some to eat. 

We cut off some of the fur from the tip of the cat's tail, and put 
the hairs under one of the big stones {sigung) where the fire burns. 
This is why the cat loves the house where she lives. 

When the cat dies, her gimokud takawanan 1 goes down to Gimo- 
kudan, where the spirits of dead people go. 


An old man was fishing in the brook; but the water kept getting 
muddy, and he did not know what was the matter. Then he went 
away, and he walked and walked. After he had gone some distance, 
he saw in the mud a big lion 2 that eats people. The Lion had been 
sleeping in the mud. He said to the man, "If you'll pull me out of 
the mud and ride me to my town, I will give you many things." 

Then the man drew the Lion from the mud. 

The Lion stood still a while, and then said, "Now you must ride 
on me." 

So the man mounted the Lion, and rode until they came to a large 
meadow, when the Lion said, "Now I am going to eat you." 

The man replied, "But first let us go and ask the Carabao." 

The Lion consented, and they went on until they reached the 

"This Lion wants to eat me," complained the man. 

"Yes, indeed! eat him, Lion," answered the Carabao, "for the men 
are all the time riding on my back, and whipping me." 

There were many Carabaos in the field, and they all agreed to this. 

Then the man said to the Lion, "You may eat me; but we will first 
go and tell the Cows." 

Soon they reached the Cows' home, and the man told them that the 
Lion wanted to eat him. 

At once the Cows exclaimed, "Yes, eat him, Lion, because all day 
long the people drive us away from their fields." 

"All right!" assented the man; "but first let us speak to the Dogs." 

When they came to the Dogs' home, the man cried, "The Lion is 
going to eat me." 

1 The good soul that goes to the city of the dead, and continues to live much as on earth. 
The gimokud lebang, or bad soul, becomes a Buso after death. 

J The "lion" is borrowed from some foreign source, since in the Philippines there are 
no large carnivorous mammals. 

Bagobo Myths 57 

The Dogs said to the Lion, "Devour this man; for every day, when 
men are eating, they beat us away from the food." 

At last the man said, "Sure enough, you will eat me up, Lion; but 
let us just go to the Cat." 

When they reached the Cat's home, they found her sitting at the 
door, keeping her nice house. It had groves of cocoanut-palms around 
it. The Cat lived all alone. 

The man said to her, "This Lion wants to eat me." 

"Yes, Lion," the Cat replied; "but first you make a deep hole in 
the ground. We will race each other into the hole. If you jump in 
first, then I shall lose and you will win." 

And the Lion ran, and jumped into the hole. Then the Cat covered 
him with earth and stones until he was dead. But before he died, the 
Lion called to the Cat, "Whenever I see your excrement (tai), I shall 
eat it." That is why the Cat hides her excrement, because she is 
afraid the Lion will come. 

Now, the Lion is the dog of the Buso. 


One day the Chameleon (palas 1 ) and the Monitor-lizard (ibid?) were 
out in a deep forest together. They thought they would try scratching 
each other's backs to make pretty figures on them. 

First the Chameleon said to the Monitor-lizard, "You must scratch 
a nice pattern on my back." 

So the Monitor went to work, and the Chameleon had a fine scratch- 
ing. Monitor made a nice, even pattern on his back. 

Then Monitor asked Chameleon for a scratching. But no sooner 
had Chameleon begun to work on Monitor's back than there came the 
sound of a dog barking. A man was hunting in the forest with his 
dog. The sharp barks came nearer and nearer to the two lizards; 
and the Chameleon got such a scare, that his fingers shook, and the 
pretty design he was making went all askew. Then he stopped short 
and ran away, leaving the Monitor with a very shabby marking on 
his back. 

This is the reason that the monitor-lizard is not so pretty as the 

1 The so-called " chameleon" of the Malay Peninsula and the Malay Islands is Calotes, 
one of the Agamidas (cf. H. Gadow, Amphibia and Reptiles, pp. 517-518). 

* A semi-aquatic lizard of the Philippines that lays edible eggs, and otherwise answers 
to the description of the Varanus, or Monitor. 

5 8 Journal of American Folk-Lore 


One day, when a Tortoise was crawling slowly along by a stream, 
he saw a baby-monkey drinking water. Presently the Monkey ran up 
to the Tortoise, and said, "Let's go and find something to eat." 

Not far from the stream there was a large field full of banana-trees. 
They looked up, and saw clusters of ripe fruit. 

"That's fine!" said the Monkey, "for I'm hungry and you're 
hungry too. You climb first, Tortoise." 

Then the Tortoise crawled slowly up the trunk; but he had got up 
only a little distance when the Monkey chattered these words, "Roro 
s'punno, roro s'punno!" 2 ("Slide down, slide down, Tortoise!") 

At once the Tortoise slipped and fell down. Then he started again 
to climb the tree; and again the Monkey said, "Roro s'punno!" and 
again the Tortoise slipped and fell down. He tried over and over 
again; but every time he failed, for the Monkey always said, "Roro 
s'punno/" and made him fall. At last he got tired and gave it up, 
saying to the Monkey, "Now you try it." 

"It's too bad!" said the Monkey, "when we're both so hungry." 
Then the Monkey made just three jumps, and reached the ripe fruit. 
"Wait till I taste and see if they're sweet," he cried to the Tortoise, 
while he began to eat bananas as fast as he could. 

"Give me some," begged the Tortoise. 

"All right!" shouted the Monkey; "but I forgot to notice whether 
it was sweet." And he kept on eating, until more than half of the 
fruit was gone. 

"Drop down just one to me!" pleaded the Tortoise. 

"Yes, in a minute," mumbled the Monkey. 

At last, when but three bananas were left on the tree, the Monkey 
called, "Look up! shut your eyes" (Langag-ka! pudung-nu yan mata- 
nu 3 ). 

The Tortoise did so. The Monkey then told him to open his mouth, 
and he obeyed. Then the Monkey said, "I'll peel this one piece of 
banana for you" (Luitan-ko 'ni sebad abok saging 4 ). 

Now, the Monkey was sitting on a banana-leaf, directly over the 
Tortoise; but, instead of banana, he dropped his excrement into the 
Tortoise's mouth. The Tortoise screamed with rage; but the Monkey 

1 This story, in an abbreviated form, was found by Clara Kern Bayliss at Laguna (cf . 
this Journal, vol. xxi, p. 46 (1908). 

2 Roro, "slide;" s prefix (euphonic or formal, used by mountain Bagobo before vowels 
and many consonant sounds, as the labial p here); p&nno, "tortoise." 

' Langag, "look;" -ka (suffix, second person nominative), "you;" pudung, "shut;" 
-«» (pronominal suffix), "your;" yan (demonstrative pronoun), "that," "those;" mala, 

4 Luit (transitive verb and noun), "peel," "shell;" -ko (suffix, first person pronominal), 
"I;" 'ni (abbreviated from ini), "this," "here," in sense of "at hand;" sebad, "one;" 
abok, "piece;" saging, "banana." 

Bagobo Myths 59 

jumped up and down, laughing at him. Then he went on eating the 
remainder of the bananas. 

The Tortoise then set himself to work at making a little hut of 
bamboo-posts, with a roof and walls of leaves. The upper ends of 
the bamboo he sharpened, and let them project through the roof; but 
the sharp points were concealed by the leaves. It was like a trap for 
pigs (sankil). 

When the Monkey came down from the banana-tree, the Tortoise 
said, "You climb this other tall tree, and look around at the sky. 
If the sky is dark, you must call to me; for the rain will soon come. 
Then you jump down on the roof of our little house here. Never mind 
if it breaks in, for we can soon build a stronger one." 

The Monkey accordingly climbed the tree, and looked at the sky. 

"It is all very dark!" he exclaimed. 

"Jump quick, then!" cried the Tortoise. 

So the Monkey jumped; but he got killed from the sharp bamboo- 
points on which he landed. 

Then the Tortoise made a fire, and roasted the Monkey. He cut off 
the Monkey's ears, and they turned into buyo-leaves. 1 He cut out the 
heart, and it turned into betel-nut. He took out the brain, and it 
became lime (apog 2 ) . He made thet ail into pungaman. 3 The stomach 
he made into a basket. He put into the basket the betel and the 
lime and the pungaman and the buyo, and crawled away. 

Soon he heard the noise of many animals gathered together. He 
found the monkeys and the deer and the pigs and the wild birds having 
a big rice-planting. All the animals were rejoiced to see the Tortoise 
coming with a basket, for they all wanted to chew betel. The monkeys 
ran up, chattering, and tried to snatch the betel-nuts; but the Tortoise 
held them back, saying, "Wait a minute! By and by I will give you 

Then the monkeys sat around, waiting, while the Tortoise prepared 
the betel-nut. He cut the nuts and the pungaman into many small 
pieces, and the buyo-leaf too, and gave them to the monkeys and the 
other animals. Everybody began to chew; and the Tortoise went 
away to a distance about the length of one field (sebad kinamat), where 
he could get out of sight, under shelter of some trees. Then he called 
to the monkeys, "All of you are eating monkey, just like your own 
body: you are chewing up one of your own family." 

At that, all the monkeys were angry, and ran screaming to catch 
the Tortoise. But the Tortoise had hid under the felled trunk of an 

1 See footnote 5. p. 32. 

8 A white powder (calcined shell) that is sprinkled on the betel-nut. It is made by 
burning certain shells to ashes, and mixing with water. 

* The stem of a mountain-plant that is chewed in lack of betel-nut. It blackens the 
teeth, like betel. 

60 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

old palma brava tree. As each monkey passed close by the trunk 
where the Tortoise lay concealed, the Tortoise said, "Drag your mem- 
brum! here's a felled tree" (SUpa tapol baslo' 1 ). 

Thus every monkey passed by clear of the trunk, until the last one 
came by; and he was both blind and deaf. When he followed the 
rest, he could not hear the Tortoise call out, " SUpa tapol baslo';" 
and his membrum struck against the fallen trunk. He stopped, and 
became aware of the Tortoise underneath. Then he screamed to the 
rest; and all the monkeys came running back, and surrounded the 
Tortoise, threatening him. 

"What do you want?" inquired the Tortoise. 

"You shall die," cried the monkeys. "Tell us what will kill you. 
We will chop you to pieces with the axe." 

"Oh, no! that won't hurt me in the least," replied the Tortoise. 
"You can see the marks on my shell, where my father used to cut my 
body: but that didn't kill me." 

"We will put you in the fire, then, and burn you to death," chorussed 
the monkeys. "Will that do?" 

"Fire does not hurt me," returned the Tortoise. " Look at my body ! 
See how brown it is where my father used to stick me into the fire." 

"What, then, is best to kill you ?" urged the monkeys. 

"The way to kill me," replied the Tortoise, "is to take the punch 
used for brass, bulit, 2 and run 3 it into my rectum. Then throw me 
into the big pond, and drown me." 

Then the monkeys did as they were told, and threw him into the 
pond. But the Tortoise began to swim about in the water. 

Exultantly he called to the monkeys, "This is my own home: you 
see I don't drown." And the lake was so deep that the monkeys could 
not get him. 

Then the monkeys hurried to and fro, summoning all the animals 
in the world to drink the water in the lake. They all came, — deer, 
pigs, jungle-fowl, monkeys, and all the rest, — and began to drink. 
They covered their pagindis* with leaves, so that the water could not 
run out of their bodies. After a time, they had drunk so much that 
the lake became shallow, and one could see the Tortoise's back. 

But the red-billed bakaka-bird that lived in a tree by the water 
was watching; and as quick as the back of the Tortoise came into 
sight, the bird flew down and picked off the leaves from the pagindis 

1 Baslo', term used of any old palma brava tree that has been broken down or felled . 
and lies on the ground (s&pa, "drag," "lower;" tapo, "penis"). 

2 A short, pointed iron tool; used to punch ornamental designs in brass ornaments, 
especially bracelets and leglets. 

* In a slightly different version, the tortoise tells the monkeys to bore into his ear with 
the tiuk, a brass wire that forms a part of the hinge of a betel-box. 

* The distal opening of the urethra. 

Bagobo Myths 61 

of the deer. Then the water ran out from their bodies until the lake 
rose again, and covered the Tortoise. Satisfied, the bird flew back 
into the tree. But the deer got fresh leaves to cover their pagindis, 
and began to drink again. Then the bird flew to the monkeys, and 
began to take the leaves from their pagindis; but one monkey saw 
him doing it, and slapped him. This made the bird fall down, and 
then all the monkeys left the Tortoise in the lake, and ran to revenge 
themselves on the bird. 

They snatched him up, pulled out every one of his feathers with 
their fingers, and laid him naked upon the stump of a tree. All the 
animals went home, leaving the bird on the stump. 

Two days later, one Monkey came to look at the Bakaka. Little 
feathers were beginning to grow out; but the Monkey thought the 
bird was dead. 

"Maggots are breeding in it," said the Monkey. 

Three more days passed, and then the Monkey came again. The 
Bakaka's feathers had grown out long by that time; and the Monkey 
said, "It was all rotten, and the pigs ate it." 

But the bird had flown away. He flew to the north until he reached 
a meadow with a big tual-tree in the middle. The tree was loaded 
with ripe fruit. 1 Perched on one of the branches, the bird ate all he 
wanted, and when done he took six of the fruit of the tual, and made a 
necklace for himself. With this hung round his neck, he flew to the 
house where the old Monkey lived, and sat on the roof. He dropped 
one tual through the roof, and it fell down on the floor, where all the 
little monkey-children ran for it, dancing and screaming. 

"Don't make such a noise!" chided the old Monkey, "and do not 
take the tual, for the Bakaka will be angry, and he is a great bird." 

But the bird flew down into the house, and gave one tual to the old 

"That is good," said the old Monkey, tasting it. "Tell me where 
you got it." But the bird would not tell. Then the old monkey stood 
up, and kissed him, and begged to be taken to the tual-tree. 

At last the Bakaka said to all the monkeys, "Three days from now 
you may all go to the tual-tree. I want you all to go, the blind monkey 
too. Go to the meadow where the grass grows high, and there, in the 
centre of the meadow, is the tual-tree. If you see the sky and the air 
black, do not speak a word; for if you speak, you will get sick." 

At the set time, all the monkeys started for the meadow, except one 
female monkey that was expecting a baby. The deer and all the other 
animals went along, except a few of the females who could not go. 
They all reached the meadow-grass; and the monkeys climbed up the 
tual-tree that stood in the centre of the field, until all the branches were 

1 A small edible fruit with an acid pulp and red-and-white skin. 

62 Journal of American Folk-Lore 

full of monkeys. The birds and the jungle-fowl flew up in the tree; 
but the deer and the other animals waited down on the ground. 

Then the sky grew black, for the Bakaka and the Tortoise were going 
around the meadow with lighted sticks of balekayo, 1 and setting fire 
to the grass. The air was full of smoke, and the little monkeys were 
crying; but the old Monkey bit them, and said, "Keep still, for the 
Bakaka told us not to speak." 

But the meadow-grass was all ablaze, and the flames crept nearer 
and nearer to the tual-tree. Then all the monkeys saw the fire, and 
cried, "Oh! what will become of us?" 

Some of the birds and most of the chickens flew away; but some 
died in the flames. A few of the pigs ran away, but most of them died. 
The other animals were burned to death. Not a single monkey escaped, 
save only the female monkey who staid at home. When her baby was 
born, it was a boy-monkey. The mother made it her husband, and 
from this pair came many monkeys. 

It was the same with the deer. All were burned, except one doe 
who staid at home. When her little fawn was born, it was a male. 
She made it her husband, and from this one pair came many deer. 


The liver of the crow is "medicine" for many pains and for sickness. 
On this account the Bagobo kills the crow so that he may get his liver 
for " medicine." The liver is good to eat, either cooked or raw. If 
you see a crow dead, you can get its liver and eat some of it, and it will 
be "medicine" for your body. 

The crow never makes its nest in low-growing trees, but only in 
tall, big trees. Far from here, the old men say, in the land where the 
sun rises, there are no more living trees; for the scorching heat of the 
sun has killed them all, and dried up the leaves. There they stand, 
with naked branches, all bare of leaves. Only two trees there have 
not died from the heat. The trunks of these trees are of gold, and 
all their leaves of silver. But if any bird lights on one of these trees, 
it falls down dead. The ground under the two trees is covered with 
the bones of little birds and big birds that have died from perching 
on the trees with the golden trunks and the silver leaves. These two 
trees are full of a resin that makes all the birds die. Only the crow 
can sit on the branches, and not die. Hence the crow alone, of all the 
birds, remains alive in the land of the sunrise. 

No man can get the resin from these trees. But very long ago, in 
the days of the Mona, there came a Malaki T'oluk Waig to the trees. 
He had a war-shield that shone brightly, for it had a flame of fire 

1 A light-weight bamboo with slender, thorny branches, very inflammable, and used 
where a rapid-burning and intense fire is needed (bale ["house"], kayo ["wood"]). This 
wood is extensively used in building the lighter parts of the framework of a house. 

Bagobo Myths 63 

always burning in it. And this Malaki came to the golden trees and 
took the precious resin from their trunks. 

ALl&Lfj'K AND ALjSbu'TUD 2 

Alelu'k and Algbu'tud lived together in their own house. They had 
no neighbors. One day Alelu'k said to his wife, "I must go and hunt 
some pigs." 

Then he started out to hunt, taking with him his three dogs. He 
did not find any wild pigs ; but before long he sighted a big deer with 
many-branched antlers. The dogs gave chase and seized the deer, 
and held it until the man came up and killed it with the sharp iron 
spike that tipped his long staff (tidalan 3 ). Then the man tied to the 
deer's antlers a strong piece of rattan, and dragged it home. 

When he reached his house, his wife met him joyfully; and they 
were both very happy, because they had now plenty of meat. They 
brought wood and kindled a fire, and fixed over the fire a frame of wood 
tied to upright posts stuck into the ground. On the frame they laid 
the body of the deer to singe off the hair over the flames. And when 
the hair was all burned off, and the skin clean, Alelu'k began to cut 
off pieces of venison, and Al&bu'tud got ready the big clay pot, and 
poured into it water to boil the meat. But there was only a little 
water in the house, so Alebu'tud took her bucket (sekkadu*), and hurried 
down to the river. When she reached there, she stood with her bare 
feet in the stream, and dipped the bucket into the stream, and took it 
• out full of water. But, just as she turned to climb up the river-bank, 
an enormous fish jumped out of the river, seized her, dragged her down, 
and devoured her. 

At home, Alelu'k was watching for his wife to come back bringing 
the water. Day after day he waited for her, and all day long he was 
crying from sorrow. 

The man (Alelfi'k) symbolizes a big black ant that makes its nest 
in a hollow tree. The woman (AlSbu'tud) is a little worm that lives 
in the palma brava tree. The fish is another man who carried off 
Alfelu'k's wife. 
New York. 

1 This story came to the Bagobo from a young man of the Ata tribe, whose habitat is 
the mountainous country in the interior, to the northwest of the Gulf of Davao. 

* "Alglu'k" and "Algbfl'tud" are Ata names, for which the Bagobo forms are respec- 
tively Bungen and Batol. 

» The long handle or rod of a spear, tipped with a sharp-pointed iron cone; equally 
useful for killing animals, and, driven into the ground, for supporting the spear when at 
rest. The same name (tidalan) is applied to the shaft of a spear lacking the blade, and 
carried by old people like a mountain-staff. 

4 A vessel formed of a single internode of bamboo, in which water is brought from the 
river, and kept in the house.